The premise of "Neo Ned" — a male white supremacist and an African American woman with delusions she's Hitler meet in a mental facility and begin a tentative romance — sounds more like the stuff of "Chappelle's Show" than a genuine drama. It is to the credit of writer Tim Boughn and director Van Fischer that the movie is as surprising and engaging as it is, but it is especially because of lead performers Jeremy Renner and Gabrielle Union that "Neo Ned" never succumbs to the hyperbolic self-parody that always seems to loom off screen.
From the moment their two characters meet, as both are being wrestled to the ground by orderlies, Union and Renner have a strange, offbeat chemistry that drives the film. Renner's part is perhaps more thankless, as he has a more direct journey from hapless neo-Nazi thinking to newfound tolerance, but Union owns the picture. She navigates the tricky twists of her character with skill and ease, veering from lunatic ravings to moments of lucidity, all tinged with fragility and a haunting self-awareness
MPAA rating: Unrated
A Kismet Entertainment Group release. Director Van Fischer. Writer Tim Boughn. Producers Mark Borman, Valerie McCaffrey, David E. Allen. Director of photography Chris Manley. Editors Amy Duddleston, Bipasha Shom.
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.
Exclusively at Laemmle's Fairfax Cinemas, 7907 Beverly Blvd. at Fairfax Avenue. (323) 655-4010