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American History X (1998)
Edward Norton's compelling and powerful performance of a highly misguided neo-nazi convict is a gripping and highly convincing one, and alongside Edward Furlong, this is an unmissable but hauntingly true interpretation by Tony Kaye that really brings home a message that's stuck with me forever.
Whether it was just a cleverly written script, a good director or an excellent cast, I'll never know but what ever it is, it works and it works very well.
Both Edward's reflect their prime ability to act with their portrayal of a fractured background and how it's influenced their behaviours and attitudes. It's an emotion evoking display from all the cast and a classic, classic film.
Arlington Road (1999)
***warning contains spoiler***
I feel some of the reviews of this film were too critical. There were mentions that it contained 'plotholes' - in reference to the end - which I feel forced an overlook to the actual raw performance and tension build up within the film.
Jeff Bridges is one of my favourite American actors - a bit of an actor's actor - and he doesn't disappoint with this terrorist thriller. The ending which has been quite heavily slated could have been misinterpreted by those criticising it. Even if Jeff hadn't reached the FBI offices with the bomb in tow, the explosion would have had a big impact wherever detonated and Jeff would have been named a terrorist either way, as there was no one with substantial evidence to otherwise defend him and Jeff (having remained in the car) would be dead.
Overall, I felt the suspense was well maintained and the '8' I've rated it was probably slightly generous, however I was well satisfied with the majority of the plot and would recommend the movie to the thrill-seekers of the film industry who have already indulged upon the classic thrillers.
American Beauty (1999)
I won't include any spoilers because I don't feel I need to within this review. The reason I personally adored the entire 'experience' of American Beauty was down to the sheer simplicity of it. From the soundtrack to the subtle narration to the unconvoluted plot. The themes within the movie were so basic yet so alien, they struck tender points within the way we view our own lives so profoundly that I was left dazed for several moments even after the film had finished.
It's one of those films where you don't feel the need to occupy yourself while watching it. It was as though the words were enough. I didn't touch my phone once and remained glued to the screen equally as strongly at the beginning as I was at the end. There's no massive fight scene or a tension build up, just a constant feeling of relation to the characters even though I myself had never been in the situations present. As always, Kevin Spacey provided an Oscar-winning performance which really made me fall in love with the entire moral of the story. The simple yet eloquent presentation of the ideas gave me certainty that this is a movie I could watch over and over again and still feel the same revelations I did the first time through.
Highly recommend it.