American History X: Content Analysis.
American History X is a 1998 American crime/drama film which was directed by tony Kaye. The film wasn’t created from a book and is one of the films to see at least once in your life. American History X was up for 9 nominations and won twice (best performance and best actor for Edward Norton) the budget was $20 million and the gross revenue is coming up to $25 million.
The film follows Derek vineyard (Edward Norton) a former neo-Nazi, tattooed, skinhead outlaw that is left with no choice, but to set out to stop his younger brother from following his path (using the deliverance of redemption).Derek serves three years in prison for killing two people (also injuring one) who had attempted to steal his truck. We find out through his younger brother; Danny’s voiceover (Edward Furlong) that Derek was a leader of a white supremacist gang that committed crimes in the local neighborhood. We later on come to realise that Derek’s gang reforms and grows bigger whilst in prison and they await his return/release for a party.
When Derek reunites with the family he notices Danny was influenced by his past actions, so he has to make him understand the rights and wrongs by explaining the consequences in prison, such as rape and the good factors of making friends with different races.
The movie leads us to believe Derek chose the wrong path due to his own accord
From his fathers death (killed in a black neighborhood whilst doing his job as a fireman), but we come to the conclusion that it was his father to blame for prejudiced negative opinions on races that aren’t white.
“Has anything you’ve done made your life better?”: The major quote of the film that Dr Sweeney tells Derek in prison that makes Derek change his ways, Derek also decides to confide in Dr Sweeney after being informed about Danny’s ambition to follow Derek’s past.
The title American History X is referred to Danny’s history class with Dr Sweeney after writing a paper on Hitler’s autobiography. Danny then has to write about the events of his brothers past or he will be expelled.
Crime drama is a sub-genre that shows us the focus on criminals and their motives, in depth realization of the characters, the structure of dramatic texts and modes of production. Crime drama shows suspense, fate, twists and usually portrayals of real life crimes. It is usually contrasted with action for conflict and is based on the theme of the law enforcement and the legal system.
The narrative structure
American History X is a non-linear, realist, closed ending narrative. The film can be confusing and the only way we understand the film better is because we have scenes in black and white. Tony Kaye does this to show the past or memory- flashbacks that explain more in detail of how Derek became a skinhead and also the story of his time in Jail.
The film covers racism from every view and it makes the audience feel racist in the film.