If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) is a Neo-Nazi who gets sent to prison for a violent hate-related crime and has an experience that changes him. Norton gives one of the best performances ever commited to film as Derek goes from a teenager angry over his father's death, to a violent skinhead, to a man who has completely changed his ways. It's an extraordinarily complex performance that Norton manages to make incredibly believable. Edward Furlong also gives a great performance as his brother Danny, who seems to be going down the same road Derek did. Great supporting turns from people like Beverly D'Angelo as their terrified mother and Avery Brooks as Danny's current, and Derek's former, High School principal, as well as some great cinematography and disturbing moments of violence, help turn this into one of the most harrowing, disturbing and thought-provoking films I've ever seen.
I thought this movie was hit and miss. Norton goes from being great to over-acting, and some of the scenarios are threadbare, like Furlong's character catching a lot of flak for doing a book report on Mein Kampf, which is really not an outrageous idea at all. Toward the end it also gets a bit hokey for my taste. Because of all this I found it had zero emotional impact at all, but definitely had some excellent self-contained scenes, even portions, but in the end there was a sterile disconnect.