Julianne Moore has lost her child. Again.
Moore, who played a woman whose child was kidnapped in 2004's "The Forgotten," an almost-good but ultimately stupid thriller, plays a woman whose child is kidnapped in "Freedomland," an almost-good but ultimately stupid thriller. This time around, though, the movie doesn't even attempt to entertain you.
Samuel L. is the real star of the movie, and when I say Samuel L. I mean the man, Samuel L. Jackson. No matter how many bad movies he's in, he keeps on trucking and delivering the same, fine performance as always. Amazingly, the last really solid movie he was in was 2001's "The Caveman's Valentine," yet he is one of the few actors that people like despite his attempts to choose consistently subpar flicks (though some would argue that movies such as "Star Wars," "S.W.A.T." or even "XXX" are good enough to warrant more than a subpar rating). Regardless, "Freedomland" is a real stinker of a film, even though its premise is interesting:
Jackson plays a cop who discovers a woman (Moore) in a hospital who claims that her car was hijacked by a black man in a "black" part of town, and that her son was also in the car. With a white kid stolen at the hands of a black man, the cops are quick to react, and in fact order a lockdown on a whole neighborhood, causing racial tensions to sore. As the powderkeg threatens to blow, Jackson becomes more and more suspicious that the woman is not being completely honest with him.
Okay, so a drama-thriller about a missing kid, an upset mom, a suspicious cop and racial tensions sounds good enough, right? Sure, but it needs to be entertaining. And it needs a coherent plot. And an ending.
I'll admit that I was working on my laptop while watching the movie, which probably means I wasn't paying attention to every fine detail. But the movie was boring me enough to warrant some multitasking. So, when the ending plays out and the credits roll, I look up from my computer and have no idea what just happened. I was quite sure the movie was in the middle of a scene, or at least at the end of a scene leading up to some kind of climax. Nope. The movie just ends without delivering anything close to what could be qualified as satisfaction. In fact, looking back, none of the movie is very satisfying at all, and it suffers from "me-the-movie-thought-I-was-smart-but-am-actually-not" syndrome. I just made that up, but you get the point. "Freedomland" is just a dumb, dumb movie.
To make matters worse, Julianne Moore is really not that good here. She's a fine actress, but Ms. Moore, you haven't done a good movie since 2002's "The Hours." And the performance here is just laughably overdone. She isn't likeable, which is fine, but she over dramatizes every little thing, and just as in "The Forgotten," spends most of the movie screaming and crying.
At least "The Forgotten" had aliens. Or something.
"Freedomland" is a real waste of time, though it does give you a real sense of release when you free your DVD player of the disc and are given one chance to effectively throw it at the nearest tree and hope it sticks like a throwing star. Or, put it back in its envelope and return it to Netflix.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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