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Freedomland
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Freedomland More at IMDbPro »

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107 out of 145 people found the following review useful:

I wanted to like it, and I did

7/10
Author: cladrkt from Los Angeles, CA
18 February 2006

I'll admit, I read the novel a few years ago and I was a big fan of it. So I went into the theater already wanting to like the movie. I wasn't as concerned with plot details as some other viewers apparently were. Since I knew what was going to happen, I simply focused on reliving the story, and seeing how the filmmakers interpreted it. It's such a dense novel with so much going on, I think Richard Price is the only person who could've adapted it and still kept the spirit of the original material. Now, all that being said...was it a good movie? In my opinion, yes it was. I felt empathy for all the characters (except Brenda's brother, who I felt contempt for). I was surprised that I was able to empathize with Brenda's character, but I credit Julianne Moore for that. She gave a performance that was filled with pain, and confusion, and fear, and all the emotions I would have imagined Brenda would be going through. Samuel Jackson played Lorenzo just as I hoped he would. Not over the top with a bunch of yelling and fist pounding. But as a man who realizes all too well what can happen when a white woman points the finger at a black man and yells "He did it!" The biggest problem I have with the movie is the way that it's being marketed. If I hadn't read the book, I would've never gone to see it based on it's trailer. It looks like just another missing child thriller. So I can understand why some viewers felt cheated when they saw the movie and realized that it's much more complex than that. It's about the politics of race, and how they can be manipulated. It's about the uneasy truce that exists in some communities, and how quickly a fuse can be lit to ignite tension. And most importantly, it's about people making choices that they regret, and the aftermath of those choices.

If you're looking for a missing child thriller, or a theatrical version of a CSI episode, this probably isn't for you. If a tough examination of race and class makes you uncomfortable, then don't bother with this one. But if you want to challenge yourself as a viewer, and get inside the minds of characters who are trying desperately to hold their worlds together, then I think you'll get something out of this film.

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68 out of 99 people found the following review useful:

Flawed and miscast but good.

7/10
Author: barberoux from Philadelphia
24 February 2006

"Freedomland" will not be a popular movie. The movie doesn't have enough action and the action is does contain is more to promote a message than to titillate. Its message is basically about inner city racism. Its about the fuss made over a missing white child in a black community. The story is about a white women who was car-jacked in a housing project and, unknown to the jacker, her 4 year old son was in the car's back seat. You'll have to see the movie to see the rest since revealing the story would completely ruin the movie. I really enjoyed this movie. I thought the performances by Samuel Jackson, William Forsythe and Ron Eldard were realistic and affecting. One standout was Edie Falco. She played a very unglamorous role and was powerfully affecting. She should get an Academy Award nomination for this role. She was fabulous. Another standout was Julianne Moore who was very miscast. I did not like her in this role. She played a very weak, flawed and emotionally stunted individual whose behavior at times turned my stomach. I did not like the character. The character was not written to be liked, maybe pitied and I think that aspect is what Ms. Moore was trying to evoke. I think she did too good a job at making her character weak and flawed and missed a toughness that the book's character had. To live in the environment that she did she would have acquired more emotional survival skills than the movie's character portrayed. Ms. Moore's character looked like she wandered onto the set from a suburban mall. Her looks and demeanor next to the strong Black women characters made her appear too weak and her obstinacy appears to be more stupidity. I think Edie Falco could have played this role better with her strength and then the revelations and breakdown when the toughness crumbled would have been more effective. The movie is unfortunately being advertised as a thriller and audiences expecting action and things blowing up will be disappointed. "Freedomland" is one of those movies that Hollywood doesn't get or know what to do with but it is a very worthwhile movie to see. I gave it a 7 out 10. I downgraded it slightly because of Ms. Moore's performance.

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47 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

Not even a good try

4/10
Author: philwf from United States
22 February 2006

This movie was a real disappointment to me. All the elements for a fine picture were here. Good story, good actors. Sadly, the picture was not put together well. First blame should go to the director who was not able to restrict himself to the story lines he would be able to tell effectively. Next to blame is also the director who edited the film with superfluous characters and dead end plot lines. Several very good acting performances were squandered in this mishmash. Julliene Moore and Samuel L. were great (As always). Ron Eldard is a favorite of mine. He never gets the romantic lead, but provides great dramatic wallop. Unfortunately his character had nothing to do with the story. Typically, the scene where he overhears the confession of Billy is meaningless, nothing comes of it and his character disappears afterward. I'm not sure this was even a good try. Save your money.

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32 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Honkey!!

7/10
Author: corrie-15 (corrie@nextageusa.com) from United States
13 August 2006

This movie was better than people give it credit for. I thought I was in for an average flick, but I was pleasantly surprised. And no, I don't mean that you couldn't figure out the gist of the plot, but it was well done, especially the scores. The music really made the film. Julianne Moore delivered an accurate ex-drug-addicted, scattered person, and Samuel l. Jackson was right-on. I'd recommend this film to anyone who has an open mind. This film is probably a lot closer to reality than people would like to think, that's what makes it good. No, it is not a smash 'em up Hollywood style action/suspense film, but it was good nonetheless.

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56 out of 92 people found the following review useful:

"We are going to find your son!" Agent Lorenzo (Samuel L. Jackson)

5/10
Author: Michael Margetis (pmargetis@cox.net) from United States
22 February 2006

I think Joe Roth was aiming for something deeper with 'Freedomland'. It's not necessarily a bad movie, but it isn't really a good one either. From an acting stand-point, it's great with solid performances from Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown) as a determined police detective and Julianne Moore (The Forgotten) as a whacked-out dead-beat mom who's son has been kidnapped. Edie Falco is also pretty good with a role that's anything but Mrs. Soprano. The writing or dialogue, however, is absolutely terrible. I think 'Freedomland' actually wouldn't be a half-bad movie if the screenwriter put as much work into the character's conversations as he did the creativity of the racial epithets spewed through-out the film. 'Freedomland' annoyed me in a sense that the movie trailers made it out to be something it's not -- a taut, mystery/thriller, when in reality it's a film about racial and economical tensions. 'Freedomland' is pretentious in that it thinks it's an Oscar-caliber film when in reality it's a slightly above-average suspense film filled to the brim with tired clichés. 'Freedomland' is enjoyable if you can see through it's smug undeserved sense of brilliance. Grade: C .(screened at AMC Deer Valley 30, Phoenix, Arizona, 2/20/05)

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27 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Most stereotyped film ever… wait, it looks quite real to me.

8/10
Author: vmarthirial from New York
30 July 2006

First mistake of this film was marketing (after all, it's all about marketing) Billing it as a thriller/action movie with some paranormal slant was wrong. This is strictly a psychological drama with zero paranormal stuff in it.

Second mistake was to make reality too real and not idealized or artistic to stay away of the touchy issues addressed: Race, police prejudice, social differences.

So if you went to the movie theater or the rental place to watch a thrilling action film staying right on the surface of entertainment and shock value, you will be disappointed. This is a nicely acted, well constructed and most importantly, realistic drama in which a white woman blames the kidnap of her son as a carjack conducted by an African-American male.

As far as I am concern, there was no stereotyping, just realism. There was no siding on the moralistic virtues of one or other side. Actually, this is a quite profound exploration of the reasons to lie, the be racist, to fear prejudice and to resist the fact that a social interaction between poor and rich, white and black, civilian and policemen will probably be fair in a near future… not now.

My only concern was to see Ms. Moore so stressed during 90% of the film, quite impressive performance. Just hope she doesn't take this as her type-cast.

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31 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Two strong performances can't save this weak melodrama

4/10
Author: christian123
24 June 2006

Detective Lorenzo Council (Samuel Jackson) must separate the truth from the lies when a troubled woman (Julianne Moore) shows up at the emergency room claiming that a black man from the projects carjacked her, taking her 4-year-old son, who was sleeping in the back seat.

Freedomland is a disappointing film that fails to take advantage of its talented cast and intriguing premise. The movie fails because Joe Roth is a terrible director. He tries to handle a bunch of different issues and he just doesn't mix them very well. He also introduces different characters and subplots but he doesn't build on them. Also, for a movie tackling serious issues, it was pretty unrealistic. The whole lock-down scenario was completely over the top and unnecessary. The kidnapping story had a bunch of holes and the way the cops handled the situation was pretty irresponsible. All the characters were stereotypes and most of them were unlikable. There were a lot of scenes dealing with racism but the film never actually dealt with them or settled them. The ending was total letdown and very little was actually settled, making the whole movie experience pointless.

The acting is the film's only strong point with Samuel L. Jackson giving the best performance. His performance felt a little familiar but it was still effective and his emotions never felt forced. Julianne Moore went completely over the top with her performance. She was annoying and completely unrealistic. Also, it was hard to feel sorry for her character because she was so unlikable and her actions were just terrible. Edie Falco came out of nowhere and she gave a pretty moving performance. She played the only likable character in the film and it was easy to feel sorry for her. The rest of the supporting actors were below average and no one else broke out.

Along with the acting, there were a few other good things about the film. There were a couple of engaging scenes that could have been better if the director had built on them. The script was also decent and it could have been turned into a good film. The movie also had an interesting style to it and at least it sort of engages the viewer. While the film was pretty messy, it held my attention until the end. Of course, the performances helped with that but the storyline had a chance to build. Unfortunately, it didn't and the movie ends with a whimper. In the end, Freedomland is an annoying melodrama with very few redeeming qualities. Rating 4/10

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46 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Julianne Moore is Superb!

8/10
Author: wahzoh from North Hollywood, Clifornia
2 June 2006

I saw this film on DVD with a friend last night, and we were both stunned at the amazing performance turned in by Julianne Moore. She seems to have gotten into a little bit of a "missing child rut" (she also starred in "The Forgotten", another one with a theme of a lost child), but here her performance had me glued to the screen. In particular, there is a scene in the police station where Moore is talking to Samuel L. Jackson in an interview room which was just an amazing piece of acting. I hope she gets an Oscar nod for this work. Some of the reviewers who have read the book seem to have been disappointed, but not having read the book, I didn't have anything to compare it to.

This is not a regular thriller with car chases, etc. It doesn't really fit into any of the categories people normally plug their movies into. I'm glad I saw it, and I have a new respect for Moore as an actress.

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33 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Honestly, one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

1/10
Author: Terminator97C from United States
20 April 2007

"Freedomland" falls flat in every possible way a movie can. The story is boring, the viewer does not care about the characters, and the movie goes nowhere. The film is set in 1999, which is odd because nothing during the course of the movie makes it necessary for it to take place during that time period.

The story begins with Brenda Martin (Julianne Moore) walking into a hospital with wounds on her hands after being carjacked. Detective Lorenzo Council (Samuel L. Jackson) is called in to ask her further questions. Brenda then tells him the story and blames the carjacking on an unidentified black male. It also then occurs to her that her son was also in the stolen car.

Brenda's brother is detective Danny Martin (Ron Eldard) of a neighboring police department. Trying to find his nephew quickly he puts the all black neighborhood where the carjacking took place under lock down. Since no one is allowed to leave the residents of the area start to get upset and unruly.

To diffuse the situation Detective Council rushes to find Brenda's son before riots break out in the neighborhood or Brenda's son is found dead. As the story unfolds we find that there is more to the story then we know.

"Freedomland" tries to deliver a twist ending at the end, but everyone in the audience can see it coming. Ironically the movie openly tells you many times what the ending is going to be. Though when the truth is told we are supposed to be shocked and amazed.

Even this strong cast of actors cannot save this movie from being totally lost. Samuel L. Jackson really underplays his role as Detective Council. Jackson is probably the loudest actor in Hollywood and the one role that needs it he does not deliver. Julianne Moore on the other hand overplays her role as Brenda who instead of a grieving mother comes off as a lunatic. By the end of this movie the viewer has no sympathy for her character because she is so annoying and irrational.

The true shame about this movie is how it poorly tries to bring in themes of racial inequality. It seemed like an original set up by using the characters in the black neighborhood in lock down. Unfortunately the points the film is trying to make take a back seat to the boring story of Brenda and her missing kid. The racial ideas are then never fully developed and just fall short as a type of afterthought.

Also, what happened to this movie being a supernatural thriller? Every advertisement has shown the movie involving the child going missing for some mysterious reasons. The real story has nothing to do with the supernatural. The movie should not even be considered a thriller because nothing exciting or suspenseful ever takes place. Instead we just dragged along with these characters knowing exactly what is going to happen at the end.

"Freedomland" is one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. It really should be an educational video of how not to make a movie because there is nothing good about this film.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

WoW

1/10
Author: Peace_Monger from Killa Kalli, US
29 September 2008

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW That was horrific, one of the worst movies I've ever seen, Moore is trying but her performance is laughable, Jackson can't even save this film about a missing child, you will know the ending in the first 10 minutes, the premise is idiotic and the execution even worse, one of the worst performance by a leading lady EVER, I like Moore in other films( big lebowski, Boogie Nights, ext) but she is terrible, I don't know if she is supposed to be mentally challenge or what but she can't or act, the police station scene was one of the worst exchanges by two top notch actors ever, the twist was strait as an arrow, very very very bad 1/10

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