Motion Pictures are a part of all our lives whether we agree or disagree is irrelevant. They influence the culture we live in and the shape the norms that society lives by. Although American History X is highly controversial, there is no denying it is a true work of art. Director Tony Kaye blends universal and natural symbols including the use of color, director point of view, and the use of black and white visual design to help demonstrate to the audience the problems inflicted by people involved in the neo-Nazi movement in America.
Tony Kaye, director and cinematographer, tells the story so it is seen through the eyes of Derek Vineyard (Edward Norton) little brother Danny (Edward Furlong). Since Danny looks up to Derek, Kaye manipulates the camera so that the audience would see what it is Danny sees. The violent actions and powerful vocal opinions of Derek are woven into a mold that shapes the behaviors and thoughts of Danny. "In the most fascinating scene, Derek sits at a table and makes lucid, intelligent sounding justifications for his political philosophy. Norton is perfect for the role. Even in the grip of passion, he acts as though he's a reasonable guy, leading from his head (Vice)." This statement demonstrates two things: one being that Edward Norton is truly one of the most gifted actors in Hollywood, and two it shows the audience the powerful influence Derek has on his younger brother Danny. Although the plot may appear to be simple based on the quick summary of the story line, Kaye shows the viewers in a subconscious way, certain symbols over and over again, in order to elaborate on values and opinions as seen in America's contemporary society.
Throughout the picture, Tony Kaye allows the viewer to look back on the troubled life of Derek through a series of flashbacks. All of his problems leading up to his incarceration for murdering two African American gang members are shown to the audience through the use of black and white photography.