The Truth About White Supremacy: American History X

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  • Topic: American History X, Edward Norton, Edward Furlong
  • Pages : 5 (2079 words )
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  • Published : June 27, 2005
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The Truth About White Supremacy: American History X

As a Hispanic, I suppose I should expect or, be prepared, rather, for racism and discrimination. Thankfully, I have not experienced either.. yet. Our world is not perfect; things take place that we rather not know about, but ignoring the problem seems to only make matters worse. The movie American History X, is an admirable attempt to inform us about these types of malicious ignorance that plague our society. The impeccable acting, artistic cinematography, occasional adrenaline-pumping score, and slightly faulted, though award-worthy script, all combine to create an overall exceptional film. American History X should not be immediately dismissed as an archetypal account of a controversial issue, it provides much more than what an audience would expect from a movie of this nature; it is an innovative drama about the unfortunate consequences of racism in a family that is surprisingly yet, frighteningly realistic.

The dynamic that greatly contributes to the efficiency of American History X, is the illustrious acting. Edward Norton flawlessly plays Derek Vinyard, the main character in American History X, who is angered by the murder of his father by two African-American persons who then, therefore, turns to the world of Neo-Nazism searching for comfort toward his father's death and for further justification for the hatred he has towards the murderers. After being released from prison for serving a three-year sentence of manslaughter after brutally murdering two black individuals, Derek comes out a changed man who no longer persecutes blacks and other minority figures for invading and tragically altering the life of "true" Americans. Edward Norton is more than perfect for this role. In his "Believe Me" film review site, Jeffery Huston explains, "With this performance, Norton emerges as one of the very best actors working in film today." Norton's performance was indeed electrifying. One particular scene in the film that shows the phenomenal talent he possesses, is the incident that shows us what his character was incarcerated for. After brutally murdering two black victims, police quickly arrive and begin to place Derek under arrest. Norton shines as his character is being seized; as he sets his hands on his head and slowly turns, he meets eyes with his horrified brother, Danny, who witnessed everything, and triumphantly smirks as the sinister expression in his glistening eyes reveals unsettling satisfaction, then smugly raises his eyebrows as if asking his younger brother if he is impressed. The look in Norton's eyes is so disconcerting and so powerful that one might question whether he's just acting. Not many actors possess the talent to alter the expression of their eyes to suit the emotion they are trying to portray, but Norton does this with ease. Natural talent is invincible. Hutson goes on to say, "[N]orton [. . .] is able to humanize Derek without taking it to a level of empathy. It is a responsible acting effort, one where sympathy is eventually evoked, but not to the extent of absolving responsibility for Derek's actions." It is no lie that the audience slowly begins to understand where Derek is coming from, but agreeing with him is a very rare occurrence. In another intense scene, Norton is seated at the dining room table with his family and Murray, his mother's boyfriend. In this particular flashback, Murray is informing Danny about an incident concerning some black individuals who set off a riot in a neighborhood grocery store. Norton, annoyed by Murray's later lenient justification for these type of incidents, interrupts the conversation, opposing him by arguing intelligently that blacks must have a "racial commitment to crime", and that U.S. citizens are "alleviating the responsibility that [minorities] have for their own actions" trying to excuse whatever it is they do with a "it's not crime, it's poverty" attitude. The discussion soon...
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