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Freedomland [DVD] [2006] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

3.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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  • Freedomland [DVD] [2006] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Language: English, Italian
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Sony Home Pictures Ent.
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FEBZ0A
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 340,883 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Jackson/Falco ~ Freedomland

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
When a black driver abducts a New Jersey mother's child, apparently as part of a carjacking, cop Lorenzo Council (Samuel L. Jackson) battles to solve the case before its implications on neighbourhood race relations grow too desperate. To help him he uses a missing child researcher, one of a group of mothers all of who had lost children. But as he confronts the mother, Brenda (Julianne Moore), and they search 'Freedomland', a deserted children's facility, all is not as it seems...

Freedomland is a serious film, with serious messages. One could easily imagine it as a project of Spike Lee at his most socially conscious, and whose film Do The Right Thing (1989) some of this resembles. Joe Roth, the director of the present title, has a less prestigious CV than Lee (Roth's last movie was Christmas With The Kranks), but makes surprisingly good work of bringing Richard Price's novel to the screen - even if the sum is less than its parts. Price's previous, respected, work for the screen includes screenplays for Clockers and Shaft. With his own adaptation of Freedomland, he was faced with bringing to audiences a story with two distinct threads: that of a kidnapping as well as imminent social unrest. The fault-line between the two, although necessarily related in the narrative, would always be a difficult one to mend and some of the weaknesses in the final film can be put down to uncertainties in bridging that gap.

Uncertainties existed too in the studio's marketing of the film which, in the words of one observer, made it out to be a 'thriller/ action movie with some paranormal slant.
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Format: DVD
Freedomland is the kind of complex, multifacetted story that would always prove difficult to convert from text to celluloid. While Richard Price's novel brilliantly captures the simmering racial frustrations, this, the movie version, goes in for sentimentality surrounding the disappearance of a child as the focal point. Where the novel really built the tension between black and white with the empiricist (Price's own word) whites believing their own and the black community being forced to defend, little of this is projected in the film. Whereas the book explored the dark side of human nature to jump at an opportunity to highlight a cause, the film barely skims the notion, and where in the book we're thrown into the middle of the fear and excitement of a massive race riot, the film relies on only a handful of extras to attempt to recreate streets of rage and fire. A movie about the consensus of a community needs to show the strength of such with numbers, and this film simply lacks in that department.
If you're a Richard Price fan you'll be disappointed by the film, but it was almost worth watching the DVD for the interview with Richard.
All in all, a highly forgettable film, there's little wonder it went straight to DVD and is extremely obscure. Too bad, the book is fantastic.
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By RD VINE VOICE on 19 Jan. 2007
Format: DVD
Tough task trying to decide between 2 or 3 stars for this movie. I went for 3 as i can see myself watching it again if the situation ever arose. Clearly wasn't too terrible an ordeal.

Good points:

1. Tackles racial discrimination well in an in-your-face hard hitting manner

2. Strong acting (though Julianne Moore's character can get irritating with all the crying and stuff)

3. Not a half bad plot

Bad points:

1. I figured out the core of the ending about a minute into the movie so something went wrong somewhere!

2. It started to drag out towards the end. Everytime I thought it was fading out there was another unnecessary scene.

So what's it about? :

The movie starts with Julianne Moore walking into a hospital with blood stained hands. Samuel L Jackson (Det. Lorenzo) is the veteran cop known throughout the district who is called in to run the case. He soon finds out that she was car jacked in 'the hood' (if there's a more PC term please let me know!) The twist is her son was asleep in the backseat and her brother is a (racist?) cop.

This prompts a high alert search for car, perp and child via a clamp down of the whole neighbourhood. Tensions begin to rise between cops and civilians which threatens to boil over into fully blown riots. The only people who seem to be on the side of the people and actively trying to prevent it are Det Lorenzo and his partner.
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Format: DVD
Not seen many good reviews of this film, which is a huge shame. In attempting to get a complex novel into the multiplexes, maybe too much is touched on without having time to be fully explored, like attempting to fit a season of 'The Wire' in feature film length. (Fans of 'the Wire''ll spot a few familiar faces, by the way, and one of that series' writers Richard Price adapted this from his own novel.) Nonetheless, I thought it was a curious, and oddly beautiful, film. Samuel L Jackson and Julianne Moore both put in generous, open performances. They may well have played a cop and distressed mother in other films, but never quite like this, the drama here on almost a 'spiritual' level, what moves across their faces hugely emotive and deeply drawn on. It would be a huge pity if this film didn't find an appreciative audience, and the actors, writer and director their due praise because it's heart and soul are entirely in the right place, which is up there on the screen.
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