American History X [DVD] [1998]

This release of American History X is a testament to the fact that New Line devotes most of its time and efforts to its "platinum series," and while that particular line of releases is among the best to be found, it's an unfortunate side effect that other deserving films such as this one get neglected in the process. Subject matter so volatile and controversial could easily justify an entire second disc's worth of bonus material, yet the only supplements present here are a few deleted scenes (only one of which is truly worthwhile), the theatrical trailer, and cast and crew biographies. What is lacking in the extras department, however, is made up for in the quality of the video presentation. This is the widescreen version of the film, presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and although it hasn't been enhanced anamorphically, it's a beautiful transfer nevertheless. Interestingly, the film is shot on both black-and-white and color film stock, which is difficult to balance properly under any circumstances, but here the two styles are mixed perfectly: the colors are bright, vibrant, and sharply defined, while the black-and-white sections are beautifully shot, with deep, dark, grainless blacks. The quality does justice to the cinematography of Tony Kaye, who also directs. The disc's audio presentation isn't overwhelming due to the generally subdued tone of the film, but the digital 5.1 mix is very nicely balanced, making good use of the center channel to cleanly convey the dialogue while relegating the ambient sounds to the rear channels. Overall, this is another instance where a special edition release is probable at some point in the future, but until that time comes, this disc is a more than adequate presentation of an important, powerful film.
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
Rating 4.85 out of 5 stars.
4.9
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (75 out of 75)

Special Features

  • Widescreen version
  • Deleted scenes
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Cast and crew biographies and filmographies
  • Interactive menus

Synopsis

American History X
Tony Kaye made his feature directorial debut with this dramatic exploration into the roots of race hatred in America. In a shocking opening scene, teen Danny Vinyard (Edward Furlong) races to tell his older brother, neo-Nazi Derek (Edward Norton), about the young blacks breaking into his car in front of the house, whereupon Derek gets his gun and with no forethought shoots the youths in their tracks. Tried and convicted, Derek is sent away for three years in prison, where he acquires a different outlook as he contrasts white-power prisoners with black Lamont (Guy Torry), his prison laundry co-worker and eventual pal. Meanwhile, Danny, with a shaved head and a rebellious attitude, seems destined to follow in his big brother's footsteps. After Danny writes a favorable review of Hitler's Mein Kampf, black high-school principal Sweeney (Avery Brooks) puts Danny in his private "American History X" course and assigns him to do a paper about his older brother, who was a former student of Sweeney's. This serves to introduce flashbacks, with the film backtracking to illustrate Danny's account of Derek's life prior to the night of the shooting. Monochrome sequences of Derek leading a Venice, California gang are intercut with color footage of the mature Derek ending his past neo-Nazi associations and attempting to detour Danny away from the group led by white supremacist, Cameron (Stacy Keach), who once influenced Derek. Director Tony Kaye, with a background in TV commercials and music videos, filmed in L.A. beach communities. Rated R "for graphic brutal violence including rape, pervasive language, strong sexuality and nudity." ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Edward Norton
    Edward Norton - Derek Vinyard
  • Edward Furlong
    Edward Furlong - Danny Vinyard
  • Fairuza Balk
    Fairuza Balk - Stacey
  • Beverly D'Angelo
    Beverly D'Angelo - Doris Vinyard
  • Avery Brooks
    Avery Brooks - Bob Sweeney

Overall Customer Rating

100%of customers recommend this product.

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