Wish I knew more about this film before going in, but regardless still had a good experience.
When a single mother (Julianne Moore) reports that her infant son was murdered by a black man from the projects, an intrepid African-American detective (Samuel L. Jackson) and a white journalist (Edie Falco) team up to dig for details. But what they unearth is hard to believe.
I didn’t know much about this film, until my friend Mike told me I should check it out. Thankfully I for him I was glad, if it was bad his ass would have been kicked.
So the film does some really good things with the material its given. Its a typical detetctive mystery suspense story, but with little themes of racism. There were a couple of really effective and powerful scenes that really did sell the message here.
The other good thing about this film is that the powerful performances really is what makes it work. Samuel L. Jackson gives one of his more calm and complex performances, and Julianne Moore is very good as the woman who has never done anything right until a son came into her life. Both performances were very strong but the one that really stuck in my mind was Edia Falco. She gives a very strong performance, and when left alone to emote at the end of the film, she completely outstrips the rest of the cast.
The problem with this film is that things happen without us even knowing why they are even happening. Joe Roth has directed some real turkeys in his day (Christmas With The Kranks, Revenge Of The Nerds II), and he starts to add on a lot more themes than what we originally had. He should have just stuck with the familiar source material, and not add anything new on to where he thinks it would make the film better.
One more thing is that the dialogue by the end of the film starts to get pretty lame. In the beginning, it did hold my interest but by the end it really starts to get over zealously cheesy. There are lines that I have heard many times from plenty of other films that were somewhat incorporated into the film.
Consensus: With a strong enough story, and some pretty good performances, Freedomland kept my interest enough to skate by with a positive. But lackluster directing, unexplained happenings, and some pretty cliche lines make this film almost terrible.