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Freedomland (R)

Release Date: February 17th, 2006 by Columbia Pictures.
The Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, Ron Eldard, William Forsythe, Aunjanue Ellis, Anthony Mackie, LaTanya Richardson Jackson.
Directed by Joe Roth.

BASIC PREMISE: Police detective Lorenzo (Jackson) and child-safety activist Susan (Falco) question Brenda (Moore) about the disappearance of her four year-old son.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Freedomland boasts three great performances, but with a very weak, unfocused script. The plot goes back and forth from being a murder mystery to a psychological drama. However, it fails to deliver in both genres. In the opening scenes, Brenda arrives at a hospital with bloody hands from falling down on glass. Immediately, she claims her son is missing and tells detective Lorenzo that he was kidnapped by a black man. It would have been much more effective to include a first act showing Brenda acting calm while interacting with her son before the incident. Instead, the entire film includes Brenda acting hysterical and simply insane. You donít know whether or not to believe her, but itís easy to tell that thereís something shady about her explanation regarding the incident. Why should you care about her in the first place? The screenplay by Richard Price doesnít allow for any character development from anyone. Susan, a child safety activist has little to do other than ask questions. When they all go to a large forested area called Freedomland to search for Brendaís son, unfortunately, thereís no suspense/tension to be found. On top of that, the poor editing allows for awkward transitions and scenes that just feel pointless and meandering. The story could have been much more interesting it were a courtroom drama/mysteryóthen, perhaps, the plot would be more intricate and less confusing. Even the predictable third act seems unbelievable and unimaginative.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Unimaginative, unfocused plot with one-dimensional characters.


IN A NUTSHELL: Great performances canít save Freedomland from being boring, dull, and unimaginative.


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