8:15 PM, 9th September, 1999
Derek and Danny are brothers involved with a vicious neo-nazi gang. Derek (the elder) is a born leader and destined for great (if nasty) things. But one night he shoots and kills two black youths he catches trying to steal his car. Convicted of murder, he spends three years in prison. What he sees and experiences in prison changes him forever. He becomes disillusioned with and eventually opposed to his former ideology. On his release, Derek finds that his younger brother has assumed his place in the gang and he is determined to get him away from that twisted life.
The story mostly unfolds in a series of flashbacks. The events after his release from prison are shown in colour, while his past is in black and white. The film is often very powerful, with strong scenes exploring the hatred and desperation of its characters. Edward Norton's performance as Derek is particularly striking.
The director, Tony Kaye apparently wanted his name removed from the credits-claiming that the film needed more work and that Norton re-edited some scenes. American History X is kind of fragmented but is overall an extremely powerful examination of the phenomenon of race hatred.