You can always count on Samuel L. Jackson for some hilarious profanity-laden quotes. He doesn’t disappoint in Freedomland, but the movie is otherwise unmemorable. Guess what profane gem Sam Jack drops on us this time? He actually calls a guy “brotherfucker!” Get it? Instead of mother…ok, enough.
Freedomland begins on a night in the summer of 1999 in inner-city New Jersey. Brenda Martin, played by Julianne Moore (Hannibal, The Forgotten) has been carjacked by the omnipresent criminally-inclined young black male, with her 4 year old son still in the backseat. The largely white police department of the neighboring suburb of Gannon begin their shakedown of the neighborhood project where Brenda works as a teacher. Sam Jack plays Lorenzo Council, a badass (big surprise) cop who knows the projects and its residents intimately. The first half hour of the movie is great: the pacing is taut and the racial tension is palpable. Jackson is commanding in the role and his character is tough but tender. However, the project atmosphere is quickly exhausted and goes from tense to tiring.
Moore is a talented actress, but I personally found her character to become more annoying and less sympathetic as the story unfolded. She is essentially a bird-brained basketcase for the entire movie. When she goes to the hospital after the jacking she doesn’t even say immediately that her son was still in the backseat of the car. I guess she’s supposed to be in shock, but that just doesn’t fly with me. Also, she has this gross lip-licking thing that she does. Ugh.
This movie had the potential to be really good, but ends up being tiring and unremarkable. There are solid performances from Jackson and Edie Falco (The Sopranos) as a missing children’s crusader — but Freedomland ultimately fizzles.