Living a life marked by violence and racism, neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) finally goes to prison after killing two black youths who tried to steal his car. Upon his release, Derek vows to change his ways; he hopes to prevent his younger brother, Danny (Edward Furlong), who idolizes Derek, from following in his footsteps. As he struggles with his own deeply ingrained prejudices and watches their mother grow sicker, Derek wonders if his family can overcome a lifetime of hate.
American History X
by KE Monahan Huntley
American History X, written by David McKenna and directed by Tony Kaye (also the cinematographer), is a highly polished presentation of an ugly subject: the rhetoric of hate. The fine acting of Edward Norton and Edward Furlong extricates the film from a cliché driven script. From a Dramatica perspective, it is a particularly good illustration of how concerns and benchmarks relate in the four throughlines.
The objective story domain is examined in psychology. Divergent thinking and manipulations, both subtle and overt, are problematic. Skinheads, under the leadership of white supremacist Cameron Alexander, control Venice Beach. The LAPD is working with Venice Beach High's charismatic and African American principal, Dr. Robert Sweeney, in conceptualizing (os concern) a way to eradicate their intolerable presence. The plan entails convincing Cameron's protégé, Derek Vinyard (protagonist and influence character), to take their side. Derek is a former pupil of Sweeney's. At one time he was open to his mentor's ideas (os benchmark-conceiving) -- that is until his revered (and racist) father dissuaded his impressionable son from following the leader.
Derek's firefighter father is killed in a drive by, leaving the teen vulnerable to the influence of Cameron-manifested when Derek deliberately and viciously wastes Crips gang members carjacking his truck. Without the eyewitness testimony of his fourteen year-old brother, Daniel, he only...