Eye For Film >> Movies >> Neo Ned (2005) Film Review
Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown
It's a brilliant high concept, the sort of thing that John Waters at his best couldn't have dreamed up: a love story about a white trash neo-Nazi (Jeremy Renner) who falls for a black (Gabrielle Union) who thinks she's Adolf Hitler.
Unfortunately it's also a better concept than film, which succeeds in grabbing your attention but doesn't really deliver what it seems to promise, as it soon emerges that the Hitler routine is just that and that underneath his SS lightning rune tattooed skin, the neo-Nazi is just a confused little boy who desperately wants to be loved and accepted. (Klaus Theweleit eat your heart out.)
Consequently we don't get onto the same kind of dangerous, yet exhilarating and throught-provoking ground as, say, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest or Taxi Driver, of being drawn into identifying with characters who would force us to question our own beliefs and assumptions.
Worse, Neo Ned is also perhaps guilty of parading the same old talk-show obsessed, trailer-dwelling crackers for the amusement of their more privileged counterparts, who would do well to remember that while proportionally more African-Americans may live in poverty there are more whites numerically in this position - and these being whites who have never benefited from any sort of affirmative action.
Or, maybe, just maybe, this is Neo Ned's truly radical agenda: that it's ultimately not about racial divisions - they're just a pigment of the imagination, as some wit once put it - but those between America's haves and have nots, bringing us to that most un-American of concepts, class.
Whatever the debates here - I'm not sure whether the filmmakers really had any worked through agenda to go with their central conceit/concept - there's no question as to the quality of the performances from the two leads, who give their characters more nuance and credibility than the filmmakers themselves allowed for. And, perhaps, in the end, they're just about enough...Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006