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Movie Summary - American History X

            ´╗┐American History X is a message movie that portrays how hatred and racism create cycles of violence. The film tells the story of two brothers, Derek and Danny Vinyard who embrace Neo Nazi ideologies after their father was murdered by an African American drug dealer while fighting a fire in a predominately black neighborhood. Portrayed as both extremely intelligent and charismatic, Derek entices many young whites, to join the movement. Going by the name D.O.C. (Disciples Of Christ), the skin heads took on the various minority groups that began migrating to Venice Beach in an effort to reclaim their neighborhood and spread the word of white power. The plot of the film chronicles Derek's transformation into a Neo Nazi, and his subsequent prison experiences that lead him to denounce white supremacist ideologies. The story line also focuses on Derek's efforts to dissuade Danny from the maintaining his association with the D.O.C. The shocking opening scene is a flashback to Derek killing two black teens attempting to steal his truck. As the movie jumps to current day, the audience soon learns that Derek served three years in prison for voluntary manslaughter for killing the two black teens. The first of the current day scenes shows Danny, having been greatly influenced by Derek's actions and ideology, as a skin head being reprimanded in the school office. As punishment for submitting an essay on Hitler's Mein Kampf for an assignment on a civil rights leader, Principal Sweeney ordered Danny to attend a daily history seminar with him entitled "American History X". Convinced that Danny's behavior was spawned from his idolization of Derek, Sweeney gave Danny an ultimatum - write a report on his brother or be expelled from school. It is at this point that the filmmaker reveals that the black and white flashbacks are generated from Danny's reflections on his brother's Neo Nazi journey.

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