Wednesday, 11 November 2009

(500) Films of Empire - Day 57

311 - American History X - 4 stars
A powerful film, in spite of the troubled production, that examines the ugly side of human nature as one man seeks redemption and tries to prevent his brother from following in his footsteps.
At times an incredibly difficult film to watch.  A basketball game where Neo Nazis banish the black players from the court is played out as a magnificent victory to the audience, there are sickening racial attacks, and then there is the moment where Derek murders the carjacker.  The horrible grating sound as he puts his teeth on the kerb is haunting.
All this is backed up by one of the all-time great screen performances from Edward Norton.  He is a revelation as the hate-filled skinhead that renounces his ways and attempts to leave his former life behind.  As shown in Fight Club and Primal Fear, Norton is perfectly comfortable playing two characters and he is totally believable as both the angry skinhead and the young man seeking to protect his family from the results if his actions, at one point trying to cover up his swastika tattoo in an attempt to erase his past.

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