No, don't rush to the movie theater nearest you, your tongue wagging and your eyes bulging, to watch the only shower scenes you will see this year involving yucky looking inmates. American History X is kind of the skinhead version of Little Odessa.And I don't just say that because it features Edward Furlong.
The film focuses on the fall and redemption of a skinhead (Edward Norton), and his relationship with his younger brother (Edward Furlong), the usual little brother on the loose with a big, mean older brother). It successfully shows the hate mechanism that leads to violence without falling into a demagogic moralist message about racism or love like: "We are all brothers, let's love each other.". American History X is hard and realistic, also not at all optimistic in regards to redemption. It is a cruel statement of an American society that is rotten to the core.
The harshness of the theme is amplified by the very graphic and arty direction of Tony Kaye (He started as a music video director.), that avoids falling for a white trash Jerry Springer-style voyeurism.
Finally the casting is faultness, from Edward Norton, who morphs from monster to human, to Edward Furlong who already proved what he is worth as a little brother since he escaped the Terminator. The only intriguing casting features Mike Skeach Hammer as a potbellied nazi leader.
Even if this film is not as electro schocking as its marketing claims, you won't leave the theater unscathed from these 2 hours of hate.
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