of Film: Tony Kaye directed this
amazingly vivid, incredibly graphic film about
a young man from Venice Beach, California, who
becomes a raging neo-Nazi and a member of a
White Supremacist group. Edward Norton
(Fight Club) offers a mind-blowing
performance as Derek Vinyard, the troubled youth
who finds solace in the world of White Supremacy.
Beverly D’Angelo (Vegas Vacation)
turns in an amazing performance as Vinyard’s
mother. Edward Furlong (Detroit Rock
City) is superb as Derek’s brooding
younger brother, Danny.
At the beginning of the film, Derek Vinyard
is an intelligent and articulate young man
who, through a series of events, turns unbridled
hatred into a lifestyle. He is sent to
prison for committing a brutal act of hatred.
While in prison, he “unlearns” racism
with the help of one of his high school teachers,
Dr. Bob Sweeney (played by Avery Brooks, 15
Minutes), and an interesting inmate named
Lamont (played by Guy Torry, Life).
Sweeney also plays a big part in Danny’s
life, especially when he assigns Danny an interesting
paper topic: write about his brother.
Now, the only thing left for Derek to do is
to persuade his brother not to choose the wrong
This movie is amazing, but it
also is incredibly graphic (i.e., violence,
nudity, language and rape), hence
Edward Norton earned an Academy
Award nomination for his performance.
Why I Recommend This
Film: This movie is very powerful
partly because it is so graphic. Norton’s
performance is incredibly convincing; it’s
amazing to see hatred portrayed to this extent.
The way in which the movie is shot also is beautifully
done. Its style helps convey the film’s
Why This is Important:
This movie offers a glimpse into the minds of
white supremacists. It gives some insight
into why people may join these kinds of groups.
Some people clearly have psychological problems
or encounter events that push them to the dark
side of society. This is something to
consider when we study hate speech, hate crime
and hate groups. This movie shows the
personal side of hate. It allows us to
better understand people who think like this
and who do terrible things. It also allows
us to understand that some of these people can
change their lives for the better.
“So I guess this is where I tell
you what I learned - my conclusion, right? Well,
my conclusion is hate is baggage. Life's too
short to be pissed off all the time. It's just
not worth it. Derek says it's always good to
end a paper with a quote. He says someone else
has already said it best. So if you can't top
it, steal from them and go out strong.
So I picked a guy I thought you'd like. ‘We
are not enemies, but friends. We must not be
enemies. Though passion may have strained, it
must not break our bonds of affection.
The mystic chords of memory will swell when
again touched, as surely they will be, by the
better angels of our nature.’”