Review by Ty McLemore
Jeremy Renner, Gabrielle Union, Sally Kirkland
Take one Neo-Nazi called Ned, add a deranged black woman who believes she is the reincarnation of Hitler, mix together in a mental institution, pour over a bed of quirkiness, drama and romance and serve hot.
This is the premise of writer Tim Boughn’s work. A body of work that is devoid of any glitz or glam, high-res cinematography or slick soundtrack. Instead, we are given a straightforward, yet unlikely love story of two individuals thrown together by vastly different circumstances.
In the end it gels, thanks in no small part to the likeability of both characters. While Ned has reluctantly followed his father’s footsteps in perpetuating hate, beneath the veneer we see an individual who in actuality is free-spirited and caring and simply longs to belong to something or someone.
That someone eventually appears in the form of Rachael - a black, single mother who is desperately trying to vanquish the demons of her past. Together, the pair help one another on a path toward redemption – albeit, not in the linear and normal way one might imagine.
While the movie seems to stall at times with excessive dialogue and senseless transitions, it is definitely thought provoking and relevant for its time.
Who Might Not Like It and Why
Those who are sensitive to offensive language and/or situations.
In the opening scene, Ned has launched a verbal tirade and physical assault upon the medical staff and has to be physically restrained on the floor. While prone, the camera cuts to another part of the room where RACHAEL is violently screaming while being restrained.
Inquisitively, Ned asks of her situation to which no one gives an immediate answer. The clever juxtaposition of these two characters seems to be Boughn’s subtle way of allowing the audience to see their connection early on.
On a trivial note, I was cast as an extra in this movie and played the part of an uncredited mental patient. It was originally shot in 2003 at an abandoned hospital in the city of Pomona.
While on break from shooting, myself and several background actors engaged Gabrielle Union (Rachael) in meaningless conversation as she stretched out on a couch. She was as witty and amusing as she was beautiful and we were grateful that she indulged us for the length of time that she did.
This independent feature was first shown at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Palm Beach International and in 2008 was eventually released on DVD thru Code Black Entertainment.