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Freedomland [UMD for PSP]
Actors: Ron Eldard, William Forsythe, Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Clarke Peters
Director: Joe Roth
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
R     2008     1hr 53min

Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent Release Date: 07/01/2008 Run time: 113 minutes Rating: R


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Movie Details

Actors: Ron Eldard, William Forsythe, Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Clarke Peters
Director: Joe Roth
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: UMD for PSP - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 53min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

K. Corn | Indianapolis,, IN United States | 02/18/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"This is a muddled mess of a movie, although it seems promising at first. A mother is dragged from a car and her young son is left behind, to be driven off in the car by the hijackers.

Unfortunately, everything goes downhill from here. There are plot lines that go nowhere and long pieces of the story that don't seem to connect to other parts. Even worse, the mother isn't treated in a believable way by the police. She may be in danger but they actually leave her alone at certain points.

Anyway, it was just a jumbled hodge podge of a movie. Deeply regretted seeing it. Liked the book, though."
Joshua Miller | Coeur d'Alene,ID | 06/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Samuel L. Jackson has long been one of my favorite actors, but has almost made it a habit of choosing really bad roles that don't even try to showcase his talent. In this movie, he returns to form a little bit. Two of the most common roles you see Jackson in are as a bad guy (Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction) or as a cop/goverment guy (XXX, Freedomland). No matter what he's playing (unless it's in a bad movie) he does it perfectly. "Freedomland" is about an asthmatic New Jersey detective named Lorenzo Council, who spends his time trying to keep violence down in a small N.J. city. Then, Brenda Martin (a blonde Julianne Moore) comes into the picture claming that her car was jacked by a black man and that her 4-year old son was in the backseat. Lorenzo feels for Brenda, but also senses something wrong with her story. Anyway, if you've seen the preview for the film then you know that Freedomland is the name of a children's asylum...The preview made this asylum look like a big part of the movie and it's not. The asylum, Freedomland is used as a metaphor more than anything. Edie Falco (The Sopranos) also stars as Karen, a woman who leads a team to help find missing children and Ron Eldard playing the same d**kheaded character he's played in several other movies (House of Sand and Fog, Sleepers). Anyway,
the movie gives away it's big secret a little to early although many people will hardly notice. The movie paces nicely for an hour before leading to the big plot points. The dialogue is really good, Jackson sounds like he's saying leftover stuff from "Jackie Brown" at times. Moore needs to keep her red hair, but her performance is really good. This is an entertaining movie that also fits in some political views about racism...It's no masterpiece but it's definitely worth checking out.

Amber Alert: Missing Structure
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 02/18/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"The way I see it, a good movie has to have a sturdy structure in order to support the weight of its characters and plot. If this idea falls through, then all you'll have is an incoherent mess. "Freedomland," unfortunately, falls into this category. It had so many missing pieces that its structure pretty much collapsed the moment it started. No, that's actually too limiting: the pieces were never together to begin with. Everything about this film was out of place and chaotic, a haphazardly strewn together story that only resulted in a jumbled mass of wrongfully conceived ideas.

The movie begins in the streets of an urban housing project in Dempsy, New Jersey. There we meet Lorenzo Council (Samuel L. Jackson), a police detective who seems to know everyone in the neighborhood but isn't exactly up to speed on all of its problems. One of the women continually nags him to do something about her abusive boyfriend, and Council continually tells her that he'll take care of it as soon as he can. Right from the start, he seems burned out and detached, something that other officers have picked up on. They were noticeably standoffish and haughty. Obviously, some would rather not work with him. Exactly why is never really explained, a fact that only serves to make the many moments of mounting tension and hostility seem ill fitting.

Council is thrown into a web of mystery when Brenda Martin (Julianne Moore) walks into Dempsy Medical Center. Her hands are covered in blood, and she's mentally cut off from the world. Council is called in to question her. For a while she's evasive, and occasionally seems to be rambling. Eventually, she says that, while taking a shortcut through the park next to the housing project, she was carjacked by a black man. She also says that her son, Cody, was still inside the car.

This prompts the complete shutdown of the neighborhood, an act that angers many of the residents (usually to the point of physical altercations). No one is allowed to enter or leave. As if this weren't bad enough, Council's personal interest in finding Brenda's missing son has landed him in hot water with his superiors. Brenda's brother, Danny (Ron Eldard), is also not too fond of Council. We never really find out why, though. Maybe it's because he's also a police detective. Or maybe it's because of the past he shared with his sister. But these are only guesses; everyone in this movie is so one-dimensional that guesses are all we have to go on. This is especially true of Danny; his appearances are so sparse that his inclusion was completely unnecessary.

Council becomes increasingly suspicious of Brenda; he notices that many of her claims don't seem to add up. Right from the start, it's obvious that there's more to Brenda than meets the eye. It continues all the way through the film, most prominently displayed through her never-ending mental patient type of behavior. She's constantly walking around in a confused stupor, and there never seems to be a moment when her cheeks aren't wet with tears. Julianne Moore delivers a performance that's nothing more than overacting, and it very quickly becomes exhausting to watch her. By the time I got to the ending, I'd lost all traces of compassion for her. She was one of those characters I wished I could slap in the face while screaming, "Snap out of it!"

One of the film's biggest problems is the number of subplots that are left dangling before I had a chance to experience them. Let me give you an example: we eventually learn that Council has a son in prison named Jason (Dorian Massick). The moments they're together are presented so insignificantly that it comes off as nothing more than filler material. Had this subplot been followed through, it could have been powerful and dramatic. Here's another example: we're introduced to a group of women dedicated to finding lost or abducted children. In charge of the group is the dedicated Karen Collucci (Edie Falco). Her personal story (which I won't reveal) is somewhat compelling, but it was brought up too late in the game for me to take any real interest. Even the location of Freedomland, a padlocked and abandoned children's asylum, remains in the shadows. Its only significance is that it doubles as the film's title.

This is one of those movies that can't decide what it wants to be. On the one hand, we have the mystery surrounding Brenda and the search for her missing son. On the other hand, we have a commentary on race relations between blacks and whites. These are fine in and of themselves, but put together, they're completely incompatible (at least they were in this film). Even more unsettling is the way race is portrayed. There have certainly been plenty of films that tackle the subject of race in effective, thought provoking ways. But in this case it comes off as a way to exploit negative, unfounded stereotypes. We have the abusive boyfriend who smuggles drugs. We have the strong willed community leader who takes an aggressive stand against authority figures (at one point, he distributes t-shirts displaying the suspect's sketch, claiming the face represents all and none of the people). We even have the obligatory riot scene between the residents and law enforcement. While all this manages to convey the point that the road to understanding and tolerance is rocky and turbulent, it still fails to instill compassion. Maybe if it had actually connected with the story of Cody and his mother, it might have had some merit.

"Freedomland" unfairly left me with more questions than answers and cruelly twisted my anticipation into disappointment. I resented the fact that I had to leave the theater without gaining some minute sliver of insight. For a film that dares to take on such controversial topics, it was the least they could have done."
Oscar would never fall for this "bait"....
T. Lamar Terrell | 02/19/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I went to this movie solely for the performances of Sam Jackson and Julianne Moore...And with the hope that the movie would be amazingly written and soar high above it's TV movie premise. Nope.

Every stereotype of every movie and TV crime drama that you've seen dealing with a race, crime and an angry black community versus police is right here... with no deviation. Or elevation.

The thing that bothered me about the other reviews on this movie was that they'd mention Freedomland's 'commentary on race' without adding the neccesary "stale" before the word "commentary". If you've seen movies that deal with the subject matter in this movie and you think you know what is going to happen in this movie...YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT. Every cliche and stereotype you can think of with the themes of ' poor black community versus the cops' is right here:

Angry, abusive young black men who are like children, angry bitter black women who are more like mothers than mates to their lovers, the angry ghetto citizens versus the cops, Angry riot scene, the angry brother cop, an almost monolithic angry black community who move as one (like the Borg in Star Trek) and incompetent superiors in the police department...

And Sam Jackson...Angry as usual. Though less so than past performances. He's mellowed. I liked him and his performance, but he isn't breaking any ground or giving a "balls to the walll" performance here.

Also, if you think you know who's responsible for the boy's dissapearance from the first two minutes of the movie (during the opening credits, no less), then you're right in that assumption, too.

Julianne Moore..was annoying. But I blame the writers. I believe Moore took one look at the script and said "This character is grating and the dialogue sucks...I have to go over the top with this to make it interesting". Her decision to go over the top grated even more. I was dissapointed with her character and the decisions she HAD to make as an actress. Her diatribes were contrived, and while it may have been conceived as oscar bait, it is not oscar-bait, because it is sooo corny. Oscar wouldn't go near that. The only good thing that can come from that acting caper is that it may end the streak of actors who get nominated for Oscar by playing a mentally challenged character.

The movie would've gotten 2 and a half stars, but a half a star is taken away for Julianne Moore's awful character and performance and a whole star is subtracted because this movie wasn't written; it was photocopied from other scripts about unrest in the black community.

Nit picks:

1)One of the characters makes a decision that will bring hell down on this ghetto project, even though that person knows the people in this project and supposedly has nothing against them.

2)You know how, in the movies when a character has just awakened after a hell of a night, just had the fight of her life or is on her death bed, but the actress looks like she's just had her makeup applied perfectly and her hair 'messed up' in a perfectly sexy style? You think "that's unrealistic".

I used to think that. But looking at this movie, with most of the women (with the exception of Anjanue Ellis..The woman is fine) looking like utter hell, I was thinking...put some makeup on her please. The makeup people went out of their way to make everyone look plain, pale and sickly. Moore, who I think is beautiful, looked like Gollum in this movie.

3)At one point in the movie Sam Jackson goes to visit his grown son, who is in prison. The boy has a horrendous tattoo of Tupac on his arm and says "I was gonna get Tiger Woods, but that wouldn't have went down to well with the brothers in here." I don't think a picture of *any* man on your arm is gonna go down too well in prison. Or anywhere else for that matter.

4)When Edie Falco,(who plays the mother of a kid who's been missing over a decade) hypothetically begs her son's killer to tell her where her son's body is, and she changes the name of the killer in the middle of her speech, it's supposed to be a breathtaking moment, but it is contrived.
(Still, Falco won me over. She is a brilliant actress that could do that with the superfluous speeches she's given.)

5.) The race riot that happens at the end of the movie doesn't make sense. At the start of the movie, the cops shut down the projects because a white kid was presumed to kidnapped in that community. But the crime that brought them there had been solved near the end of the film. However, some of cops were still in the projects, surrounding that community. There should have been no battalion of police in riot gear outside that project, and no riot. But since this is a cliche movie, we had to have the cliche riot.

This movie was as stale as four day old popcorn. Pure TV Movie tedium. I wasted my money going to see this film. I won't underestimate my ability to read a film from the previews next time."