Father Figures in Boyz and American History X.
From Boyz N The Hood's opening STOP sign, bright red, rigid and alarming, and American History X's serene and melodic, black and white opening on the California shoreline, the two films contrast each other in almost every way. The black and white segments and flashback storytelling of American History X hardly parallels the colorful chronological spanning of Boyz N the Hood, making the movies look like opposites. The upbeat sounds of R&B and Soul of Boyz hardly sound anything like the hard rock or symphonic church music of X. And while both are fantastically moving films, Boyz's optimism and X's tragic conclusion make for completely different feels. It is through these diametric styles that Boyz & X so incredibly examine the same issues. From concerns of individuality or the group to community, to the evolution of the adolescent years, both filmmakers simply chose different means in order to express similar ideas. The paper that follows will investigate how each film conversely tackles the most significant of issues in which Boyz and X synchronize: the role of the father figure in the development of each child. Through each filmmaker's choices of cinematic style and story line, he shows the audience the effect on each child (Tre in Boyz, Danny in X) of either a positive father figure (as with Boyz) or a negative father figure (as with X). By following the progression of each film by way of examining the introduction of the father, the influence that he has on his child, and the ultimate effect of his paternal presence, we can clearly understand each director's message: while many things can sway and influence children in their teens, one's father figure is the most significant factor in determining the outcome of a child's life.
As all young boys grow into adolescence, they find that certain somebody to look up to, whether literally, figuratively, even subconsciously.