Norton is an environmental and social activist and one of the developers of Crowdrise, a charitable fundraising platform.

His endeavours involve not-for-profit theatre, affordable housing and wilderness conservation, among other causes.

Far worse, the ending is a misfire." Stephen Hunter, writing for The Washington Post, was highly critical of the film and gave it a negative review.

He called it "a mousy little nothing of a picture, an old melodramatic formula hidden under pretentious TV-commercial-slick photography, postmodernist narrative stylings and violations of various laws of probability." Norton was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Derek Vinyard, but lost to Roberto Benigni for Life is Beautiful.

It’s no secret that Leonardo Di Caprio is willing to do anything to get into character.

So when it came time to set aside his acting and make a documentary about the environment, the Oscar winner almost drowned trying to get some footage.

La Salle felt that while the film succeeded in portraying Derek's descent into neo-Nazism, it failed to portray his renouncement of his past beliefs: "We had to watch him think his way in.

We should see him think his way out." La Salle also noted other problems: "In some places the dialogue is surprisingly stilted.Based on the reviews of 82 critics collected on Rotten Tomatoes, 83% of critics gave the film a positive review, with an average score of 7.3/10; the website's consensus reads: "A compelling and provocative story led by an excellent performance by Edward Norton." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune, awarding American History X four stars out of four, described it as "a shockingly powerful screed against racism that also manages to be so well performed and directed that it is entertaining as well" and stated that it was "also effective at demonstrating how hate is taught from one generation to another." Siskel singled out Norton's performance and called him "the immediate front-runner" for an Oscar.Todd Mc Carthy, writing for Variety, gave the film a positive review stating, "This jolting, superbly acted film will draw serious-minded upscale viewers interested in cutting-edge fare." He gave special praise to Norton's performance, saying "His Derek mesmerizes even as he repels, and the actor fully exposes the human being behind the tough poses and attitudinizing."s Janet Maslin wrote, "Though its story elements are all too easily reduced to a simple outline, American History X has enough fiery acting and provocative bombast to make its impact felt.Joaquin Phoenix was offered the role of Derek Vinyard but turned it down.American History X was released on October 30, 1998 and grossed 6,076 in seventeen theaters during its opening weekend.Nevertheless, Ebert concluded, "This is a good and powerful film.