(Inspiration) Research (American History X) (1998) In my final major production I am thinking of using a black and white technique in a narration style short film, in my film I watched and analyzed the use of black and white Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) becomes a neo-‐Nazi after his firefighter father (William Russ), himself a racist, is murdered by black drug dealers. Eventually Derek becomes second-‐in-‐command of a street gang, The D.O.C. (Disciples of Christ), and leads them in terrorizing minorities in their community. One evening during a family dinner, Derek and his girlfriend Stacey (Fairuza Balk) get into a heated argument about the Rodney King riots with his mother's new boyfriend Murray (Elliott Gould) and throw him out of the house. His irate and upset mother asks Derek himself to pack up and leave, to which Derek replies that he's out in the morning; upon hearing this, Stacey says that Derek can stay at her place. Later that night, Derek's younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong) informs Derek that three Crips members are outside the house, attempting to steal Derek's truck. Derek runs outside and opens fire on the Crips, killing one of them, and curb stomps another. He is arrested and convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and sentenced to three years at the California Institution for Men in Chino. In the prison, he joins the Aryan Brotherhood. After about a year, he becomes disillusioned with the gang, especially over the group's friendly dealings with a Mexican prison gang member, and their trafficking in narcotics. His objections are rejected by the other white supremacists. Derek also develops a friendly rapport with black prison inmate Lamont (Guy Torry. His fellow neo-‐Nazis take notice of this and savagely beat and rape him in the shower. While recovering from the attack, Derek is visited by his black former high school English teacher, Dr. Bob Sweeney (Avery Brooks), whom he asks for help to be paroled. Sweeney informs him of Danny's continued involvement with neo-‐Nazis, and that he is on the same path as his older brother. Sweeney then confides in Derek that he hated white people as a youth, but he eventually realized that hatred is pointless. This proves a turning point for Derek, who further distances himself from the Aryan Brotherhood and changes his outlook on life. He spends the remainder of his time in prison alone, reading books that Sweeney sends him. He fears that the prison's black inmates will attack him, but they leave him alone, thanks to Lamont's persuasion. Finally realizing the error of his ways, Derek leaves prison a changed man. The morning Derek is due to be released from prison, Danny's history
teacher reports Danny to Sweeney, now the principal, on account of Danny's history paper on Mein Kampf. Sweeney convinces the teacher to give Danny another chance, and tells Danny that he will now attend a history class called "American History X". For their first lesson, Dr. Sweeney asks Danny to write a paper on the events leading up to Derek's incarceration. Danny reluctantly agrees after Sweeney threatens expulsion. In the evening, when Derek returns home, he finds that Danny has a D.O.C. tattoo and then tries to persuade him to leave the gang. Later that night, at a neo-‐Nazi party which Derek and Danny are both attending, Derek confronts and tells the leader, Cameron Alexander (Stacy Keach), that he and Danny will no longer associate with them. Alexander provokes Derek, who beats him up. During an ensuing confrontation, Danny's neo-‐Nazi friend Seth Ryan (Ethan Suplee) runs after Derek and aims a pistol at him, which Derek wrestles from him, and points at the angry crowd before running away from the party. Danny angrily confronts Derek, who tells him about his time and transformation in prison; the confession seems to prompt a change in Danny. Back at their home they remove all the white power posters from their bedroom walls. Derek then takes a shower and reflects somberly on his numerous white power tattoos in the bathroom mirror. The following morning Danny finishes his paper, and Derek gets ready for a meeting with his parole officer. Derek walks Danny to school before his meeting, and on their way they stop at a diner where they are met by Sweeney and a police officer. They tell Derek that Alexander and Seth were attacked the previous night and have been hospitalized. Derek claims no knowledge of the incidents, yet they ask him for help. Derek reluctantly agrees. At school, Danny is confronted by a young black student named Little Henry, with whom he had a confrontation the previous day. Little Henry pulls out a gun and shoots Danny in the chest, killing him. When Derek arrives at the school, he runs into the bathroom and tearfully cradles his dead brother in his arms. The film ends with Danny narrating part of his paper, in which he quotes the conclusion of Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address: "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."