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"FREEDOMLAND"
(2006) (Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Extreme Moderate Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Moderate None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Minor Extreme Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A black Jersey cop tries to keep the peace in the projects when they're barricaded following a white woman claiming a black man stole her car containing her 4-year-old son.
PLOT:
It's 1999 and Lorenzo Council (SAMUEL L. JACKSON) is a black cop in Dempsey, New Jersey who, along with white partner Bobby Boyle (WILLIAM FORSYTHE), is in tight with most of the residents of the Armstrong housing projects. He's arrived there to serve a warrant to Rafik (FLY WILLIAMS III) for possession, but is distracted by news that a white woman, Brenda Martin (JULIANNE MOORE), who works at the local daycare center, was reportedly carjacked by a black man on her way home to the nearby town of Gannon. Only under Lorenzo's intense interrogation does she admit that her 4-old-son Cody was asleep in the back seat.

Lorenzo immediately puts out an A.P.B. and it's not long before Brenda's cop brother Danny Martin (RON ELDARD) puts himself on the case, immediately thinking someone in the projects is responsible. As does Lorenzo's superior who blockades the projects in the belief that such a shake down will eventually get someone to talk.

Instead, it only enrages the likes of Rafik, Reverend Longway (CLARKE PETERS) who makes claims of racism, and Brenda's coworker Felicia (AUNJANUE ELLIS) who has other things to think about now that her boyfriend Billy (ANTHONY MACKIE) has started beating her. Rafik gets a beating of his own courtesy of the police, and Lorenzo realizes he has to solve the case and soon.

Accordingly, he agrees to let Karen Collucci (EDIE FALCO) and her small organization -- that searches for missing kids -- assist in his quest. Unsure if Brenda is being honest or not, Lorenzo races to find the truth and/or boy, all as racism-fueled emotions near the boiling point back in the projects.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might be interested in it, but it's doubtful younger kids will be.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and some violent content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON plays a black Jersey cop who tries to keep the peace between the black residents of a housing project that's been blockaded by a mostly white police force. He also tries to get to the bottom of Brenda's missing child case, and uses strong profanity.
  • JULIANNE MOORE plays a disturbed mother who claims to have been carjacked and worries about her 4-year-old son she claims was in the car at the time. She also uses strong profanity and is reluctant or unable to tell the entire truth about what really occurred.
  • EDIE FALCO plays a woman who runs an organization that searches for missing children (based on hers being missing for a decade). She tries to help Brenda cope with what's occurred, all while also questioning her account of what happened.
  • RON ELDARD plays Brenda's cop brother who's upset about what happened, beats up Rafik (who he thinks is responsible), has some racist attitudes and uses strong profanity.
  • WILLIAM FORSYTHE plays Lorenzo's white partner who similarly tries to diffuse the situation at the housing projects and uses strong profanity.
  • AUNJANUE ELLIS plays one of Brenda's coworkers at a daycare center in the projects who's also upset that her boyfriend is now abusing her.
  • ANTHONY MACKIE plays that now abusive boyfriend.
  • CLARKE PETERS plays the unofficial leader at the projects who cries foul when the residents are not allowed to leave in what turns out to be a community-wide shake down by the police.
  • FLY WILLIAMS III plays a young man accused of drug possession (and who may smoke a joint) who has a bad run-in with the cops.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 44 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered and some brief and non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is present. Violence consists of a clash between protestors and police where people are punched, kicked and/or hit with nightsticks. There's also what turns out to be an imagined carjacking, while a cop earlier strikes a suspect who's received similar but unseen treatment at the hands of other police.

    Some of that has bloody results and those scenes and other moments might be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers. Varying degrees of bad attitudes are present, as is tense family material regarding missing children, an adult child in jail, and the discovery of a dead child. Some characters are noted as being former or current drug users, and one of them appears to smoke a joint.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, some camera movement from time to time might induce that reaction.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some cops say that Rafik was caught with a nickel bag of weed recently (not seen).
  • Brenda states that she's clean and has been for nearly five years.
  • Danny asks Brenda if she's getting high again and she says no.
  • Rafik smokes what may be a joint.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Brenda's hands are very bloody and she leaves a bloody handprint on a hospital window (that Lorenzo later sees).
  • Lorenzo has some blood on his hand after he touches a fresh wound on the back of his head.
  • Rafik's face is bloody in a police station (presumably from an unseen beating).
  • A cop mistakenly hits Lorenzo on the head with his nightstick, bloodying the latter there.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Spoiler Alert: Entries in this category contain plot and character revelations that may give away the ending.
  • Felicia tells Lorenzo that Billy has been beating her (but nothing else comes up that).
  • We see a flashback to a carjacker grabbing Brenda from her car and then pushing her to the street where she lands on her hands that grind into broken glass there (we later learn none of this really happened).
  • Lorenzo yells at Brenda while interrogating her (only making her more upset than she already is).
  • Boyle calls a woman "sweetheart" (not meant in a romantic way).
  • The mostly white police force decides to blockade the mostly black housing project in an effort to make the residents desperate enough to give up the perpetrator (although the cops aren't positive he's in there or is even real).
  • Danny has a bad attitude toward Lorenzo (but some of that's based on his missing nephew).
  • A black man refers to a white cop and his "hillbilly ass."
  • Danny asks Brenda if she's getting high again and she says no. He then asks, "What the hell is wrong with you? Can't you even raise a child?"
  • Danny beats up Rafik in the police station while the latter is being interrogated (and presumably was beaten by others as he's seen with a bloodied face).
  • Danny states that the cops got the wrong "monkey" (black suspect).
  • There's talk of neglect and abuse in a former children's asylum.
  • Brenda admits that her son is dead from drinking a bottle of cough syrup (she states that she started giving the 4-year-old that to make him sleep and that she didn't love him anymore). She adds that the boy threatened that if she left (to see Billy), she'd be sorry (presumably meaning suicide).
  • We hear that a person helped bury a child that died (we see a flashback of him carrying the covered body out to a car trunk).
  • We hear that Brenda had a fling with Billy (Felicia's boyfriend).
  • Tensions rise between the mostly white police and the mostly black housing project residents until physical violence eventually breaks out.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • The following may be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • When we first see Brenda, she walks along through the city at night, looking dazed. She then appears in the local hospital and both of her hands are very bloody.
  • We see a flashback to a carjacker grabbing Brenda from her car and then pushing her to the street where she lands on her hands that grind into broken glass there (we later learn none of this really happened).
  • Lorenzo yells at Brenda while interrogating her (only making her more upset than she already is).
  • We see a truck following Lorenzo as he drives off, but we later see that it's just Karen.
  • Back at the projects, the police have the place barricaded (keeping the residents from leaving) and we see a young man hanging from a windowsill on the outside of a building. He ends up falling (we don't see the impact) and is injured on the ground.
  • Tension grows on the streets around the project where the police won't let the residents (or at least most of them) leave.
  • Rafik tries to run from the police, but is grabbed and restrained by them. Later, back at the police station, they're interrogating him and his face is bloody (presumably from unseen beatings). Danny then comes in, slams Rafik's head to the table, and then hits him several times as other cops then separate them. During the brief melee, Lorenzo is accidentally pushed back and he bashes his head on some glass that shatters behind him (cutting his head).
  • Billy yells at Felicia (he's her boyfriend, not her husband).
  • Brenda goes crazy and has to be restrained in the police station.
  • There's increased tension and chaos at the projects at night (we see fires and people running about). The riot police (with shields and clubs) are there and there's a heated verbal confrontation between the cops and protestors. Rafik then hits one cop (who presumably beat him earlier -- not seen), causing other cops to hit that young man. A large-scale melee then breaks out, with people hitting others, including cops punching, kicking and striking residents with their clubs. We see Lorenzo punch several protestors, but a cop then mistakenly strikes him on the head with his club, bloodying him, and Lorenzo eventually loses consciousness.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Nightclubs: Used by the police to beat various protestors. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I hate this f*cking place," "You f*ck," "We'll shut it down like East f*cking Berlin," "I f*cking doubt it," "When I f*cked something up," "F*ck this bitch," "Kiss my ass brother f*cker," "You three-piece Uncle Tom m*therf*cker," "F*ck her," "No sh*t," "Bat-sh*t," "Sh*t-head," "Bugging the sh*t out of me," "Bullsh*t," "Knocked me up" (impregnated), "Boneheads," "Dumb ass," "Knucklehead," "Tired as hell," "Shut up," "Sweetheart" (said by Boyle to a woman), "Get the hell out of here," "Where the hell is she?" "Are you out of your mind?" "Hillbilly ass," "Hell yeah," "What the hell /you doing/is wrong with you/is all this?" "C'mon dawg," "Monkey" (said by a white cop about a black person), "Shut your hole," "Bitch," "Slow your role," "Bastard," "He can kiss my black ass and when he's done, you can get some too," "Nigger" (said by black people) and "Big ass."
  • A prisoner sports a new tattoo on his arm.
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 44 "f" words (5 used with "mother"), 16 "s" words, 15 hells, 7 asses, 3 S.O.B.s, 1 damn, 3 uses of "God," 2 uses each of "G-damn," "Jesus," "Oh God" and "Swear to God" and 1 use of "Jesus Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see a miscellaneous shirtless man in a hospital.
  • Brenda states that she didn't tell the guy "who knocked me up" about having a child.
  • We hear that Brenda had a fling with Billy (Felicia's boyfriend).
  • Talking to Lorenzo about Brenda and Billy, Felicia says (what sounded like) that Billy wasn't getting any from her (presumably meaning sex).
  • SMOKING
  • A miscellaneous character smokes, as might Rafik (who may be smoking a joint).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Spoiler Alert: Entries in this category contain plot and character revelations that may give away the ending.
  • Brenda worries about her son after she states he was asleep in the backseat of her car when she was carjacked.
  • Brenda imagines seeing her shirtless boy sitting in a waiting room (but he eventually disappears).
  • Lorenzo visits his adult son who's in prison (and later says he's responsible for that as a parent).
  • Danny asks Brenda if she's getting high again and she says no. He then asks, "What the hell is wrong with you? Can't you even raise a child?"
  • We hear that Karen's child disappeared ten years ago and she's been searching for closure since then.
  • Karen tells her story about her child going missing and that her husband told her she needed to get on with "the business of living" (meaning taking care of her surviving kids). She then states that her kids now live with their father.
  • Brenda admits that her son is dead from drinking a bottle of cough syrup (she states that she started giving the 4-year-old that to make him sleep and that she didn't love him anymore). She adds that the boy threatened that if she left (to see Billy), she'd be sorry (presumably meaning suicide).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Missing children and how parents, the authorities and the press react to that (especially when race is concerned).
  • Racism and racial issues.
  • Parenting.
  • Black people being named as the suspects in crimes against white people (as scapegoats for someone else being responsible).
  • Brenda states that she's clean and has been for nearly five years.
  • We see that Lorenzo is asthmatic.
  • Brenda tells Lorenzo that she's been nothing (and sometimes less than nothing) for most of her life (adding that she was a disappointment to her family). She then says that having a child changed all of that (that he, metaphorically, gave birth to her).
  • Lorenzo says he has no faith in humanity, but does in God, and that sometimes you just have to let go and place your faith in God.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see a flashback to a carjacker grabbing Brenda from her car and then pushing her to the street where she lands on her hands that grind into broken glass there (we later learn none of this really happened).
  • While upset, Brenda hits herself on the head.
  • Lorenzo pushes a hospital worker out of a room when the latter barges in and might interrupt Lorenzo as he interviews Brenda.
  • Back at the projects, the police have the place barricaded (keeping the residents from leaving) and we see a young man hanging from a windowsill on the outside of a building. He ends up falling (we don't see the impact) and is injured on the ground.
  • While upset, Brenda repeatedly bashes her injured hand against a door frame.
  • We see cops struggling with protestors, and then forcibly restraining and arresting them.
  • Rafik tries to run from the police, but is grabbed and restrained by them. Later, back at the police station, they're interrogating him and his face is bloody (presumably from unseen beatings). Danny then comes in, slams Rafik's head to the table, and then hits him several times, as other cops separate them. During the brief melee, Lorenzo is accidentally pushed back and he bashes his head on some glass that shatters behind him (cutting his head).
  • Brenda goes crazy and has to be restrained in the police station.
  • There's increased tension and chaos at the projects at night (we see fires and people running about). The riot police (with shields and clubs) are there and there's a heated verbal confrontation between the cops and protestors. Rafik then hits one cop (who presumably beat him earlier -- not seen), causing other cops to hit that young man. A large-scale melee then breaks out, with people hitting others, including cops punching, kicking and striking residents with their clubs). We see Lorenzo punch several protestors, but a cop then mistakenly strikes him on the head with his club, bloodying him, and Lorenzo eventually loses consciousness.



  • Reviewed February 13, 2006 / Posted February 17, 2006

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