Review: The Neutral Ground (Tribeca 21)


An absolute dissection of the redrafting of history after The Civil War, The Neutral Ground starts with the simple premise of seeking to understand the pride behind Confederate monuments, but ends up being a poignant look at the continuing racial divide in the United States.

After the New Orleans City Council voted in 2015 to remove four Confederate monuments from public grounds, chaos ensued with protestors and counter-protestors clashing, the monuments staying where they are. Comedian/writer CJ Hunt decided to dive into the controversy and film what he expected to be a short satirical video, only it became so much more. Hunt has crafted an intense, eye-opening film that sees him imbedding himself in reenactments, demonstrations, and more in order to grasp the full picture. The Neutral Ground uses first-hand footage and conversation, mixed with historical information and interviews and dashed with unexpected humor, to dive deep into the heart of the ongoing conflict. What becomes clear is that misinformation runs amuck, not only today, but throughout this nation’s tumultuous history. It breeds divisiveness that often explodes into dangerous situations, even resulting in death in the case of the Charlottesville event.

The Neutral Ground is simply phenomenal, one of the best, most accessible projects on the topic of race in recent memory. From the facts boosting up the film’s direction to the stunningly insane rhetoric revealed, Hunt holds a mirror up to our society with maybe no so shocking results, but disappointing, for sure. But what Hunt also shows is his own journey in understanding who he is, where he comes from, and what is place is in the ongoing strife that grips the country. Real, authentic, and ever-timely, The Neutral Ground should not be missed.

Rating: 5/5

Photo from Tribeca

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