Review Date: November 14, 1998
Director: Tony Kaye
Writer: David McKenna
Producers: John Morrissey
The answer is quite obvious.
This film grapples with many of the hypotheses behind these questions, and insists on educating us through creative and thought-provoking imagery, and solid performances by its main protagonists. This film reminded me of 1995's DEAD MAN WALKING (8/10), with the main performance by Norton rating on the same scale as that of Penn in the former film. In fact, I see Norton's performance as the more complex of the two, since he actually portrays two polar opposite personalities in this same movie. And despite Norton's real-life Ivy League background, he manages to pull off an impressive acting gig as the head skinhead who eventually clues in as to the hypocrisies of his peers. Mr. Oscar, please save a seat for Edward Norton for the end of the year nominations for Best Actor, because this is definitely one deserved performance. All that and he's built like a champ in this film. Wow, what a man!
The rest of the cast was also well qualified to handle their posts, with the other Edward, Furlong, handing in another well-developed performance of a sulken youth whose heart is pierced with sensitivity. The only small issues that I did have with this movie was that it was a tiny bit too long, and that the portrayal of Norton's girlfriend by Fairuza Balk, was completely one-dimensional. The flashbacks were handled extremely well, the style of the film enhanced its viewing, and the film's gut-wrenching conclusion drove home every point made in its previous two hours. The openness of some minds does not alleviate the continued presence of hate and fear in our society. It is up to each and every individual to manage their own rationale of hate, and determine the truth within its purpose. Who does it really benefit?
This film bleeds the truth, speaks the lingo, and delivers on all counts of entertainment, socially relevant value and solid performances. Definitely one of the best told movies of the year!