American History X film, directed by Tony Kaye, is not just a good masterpiece but also an important film. It cultural aspects and political attitudes come out clearly as Tony Kale explores American history.
The story develops quite well. The story opens with Danny seated outside the principal’s office waiting to answer questions about a report he had written praising Hitler’s actions during his reign. Dr. Sweeney; the principal, rebukes Danny and tells him that from then he would be his history teacher. He gives Danny an assignment, which is about his jailed brother Derek. In the next scene, Danny rescues a fellow white boy from hands of three black kids who were punishing him for revealing that one of them had cheated.
The next scene echoes the superb way in which the story develops. It is a flashback where Derek transforms to a supremacist after the death of his father in the hands of black thugs. Cameron; a senior supremacist, influences Derek by pointing out that his father’s death was a sign of racism.
Finally, he kills two black men as they try to steal his truck; this act sends him to jail for three years. The good film’s character development comes out clearly here as the audience starts to learn how Derek influenced Danny into becoming a supremacist.
In jail, Derek encounters many problems including rape and when Dr. Sweeney come visiting, Derek makes it clear that he would love to leave the jail and move away from his family because he did not want to influence them into white supremacy. Unfortunately, he learns from Dr. Sweeny that Danny had become a supremacist after which they agree that Derek would help Danny once he is released.
Derek comes out from prison as a changed man only to realize that the supremacists groups he formed earlier had mushroomed. That night he accompanies Danny to a homecoming party organized for him by Cameron. However, he disagrees with his girlfriend Stacey, he ends up punching Cameron in the face, and after confrontation with Seth a former friend, they go home.
Once home, Danny concentrates on finishing his paper as Derek takes a shower after which they remove every paper about white supremacy propaganda from their house wall. The following day Derek takes Danny to school only to learn that Seth and Cameron were ran over the previous night.
After parting, Danny enters the school bathrooms only to be shot by one of the black kids he found beating a fellow white boy as the film started. Finally, Derek finds his dead brother in the washrooms. He laments sorrowfully having introduced Danny to white supremacy. The film ends with Danny’s voice narrating what he had written in that assignment about Derek. He emphasizes that hate is a luggage.
The story develops well in an explicate manner. Through flashback, we learn the genesis of Danny’s involvement in white supremacy. Character development is perfect as we learn slowly the nature of the two important characters, Derek and Danny, bit by bit. This film depicts the culture that one is likely to encounter in American streets.
Murder, poverty, and gang bullying echoes Nazism, violence, and depravation, that characterizes America today. However, the significance of this is outstanding as those who are locked into it can abandon it just as Derek abandoned it. Anne Dudley did the soundtrack of this film. It serves to set the humor of the movie by its dark score undertones. It underlines the deeper meaning of the film.
American History X is not an ordinary film. It is culturally important as it addresses some of the pertinent issues in American society today. As a reprieve, it insinuates that supremacists can quit their behavior just like Derek before they die like Danny. The story and character development are perfect. The soundtrack sets the humor of the movie. This movie is a masterpiece.
Kaye, Tony. “American History X.” IMDb Movies, 1998.