Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joe Roth|
|Produced by||Scott Rudin
|Written by||Richard Price|
|Starring||Samuel L. Jackson
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Editing by||Nick Moore|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||February 17, 2006|
|Running time||113 minutes|
Freedomland is a 2006 American crime drama-mystery film directed by Joe Roth and starring Samuel L. Jackson and Julianne Moore. Richard Price adapted his novel of the same name, which touches on themes of covert racism.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2010)|
The film opens with Brenda (Julianne Moore) wandering through the projects at night. She eventually comes to a hospital, goes into the emergency room and reveals her hands, which are cut and covered in blood.
The film cuts to Lorenzo (Samuel L. Jackson), a policeman, and his partner, who are trying to pick up a criminal on a warrant from the next town. He gets a call about seeing Brenda, is instructed to take a report on her stolen car, and heads for the hospital.
Brenda is in shock, but after a few minutes, she reveals to Lorenzo that her four year-old son, Cody, was in the back seat of her car when it was stolen. Lorenzo reacts to this with an asthma attack, and one of the hospital's doctors gives him a shot of adrenaline. It is also revealed that Brenda's brother is a policeman in the next, predominantly white, town.
The police begin to search for Brenda's son. Her brother overreacts and calls every police car to seal up the projects and look for clues. Tensions grow as the local media cover the story extensively. Lorenzo takes Brenda home, but he suspects that there’s something she’s not telling him. After dropping her off at her place, he starts to drive home and realizes he’s being followed. He pulls over and discovers it’s a volunteer group that helps look for missing children. He declines their help and goes home.
The next day, Lorenzo visits his incarcerated son, then checks up on Brenda, who has helped a sketch artist draw a rendering of the man who took her car.
There’s still no sign of Cody, and tensions are rising around the projects. Lorenzo again asks Brenda what really happened to Cody and she pleads with him to believe her, that Cody is her life and she would never hurt him. She goes by the daycare center where she works and the children try to cheer her up. As she’s leaving, a mother tells Brenda to stay away from her child.
The white town’s cops show up at the projects and arrest a man. They beat him, drag him back to the precinct and hold up the drawing of the wanted man, whom he resembles. They start to question him when Lorenzo and Brenda’s brother show up. Brenda's brother goes into a rage and beats the man, and other officers have to drag them apart. Lorenzo leaves in horror and runs into his partner outside. Realizing that the case will be turned over to federal investigators, Lorenzo asks his partner to stall them for one more day.
Lorenzo calls in the volunteer group and suggests they search Freedomland. It’s the site of an old foundlings’ home - abandoned for years - and the only place in the area where a small child could wander or hide for some time. They also feel that taking Brenda there will get the truth out of her via the psychological impact of the place.
The searchers gather and Lorenzo learns that their leader lost her son about ten years before. As they search, she talks to Brenda. The leader tells Brenda how she wishes she knew where her son was, how she knows who did it, but can’t prove it. She runs through what she would like to say to the man to get him to tell her if her son was dead and where his body was placed. Gradually, she shifts the context of the sentence to asking Brenda if her son was dead. Brenda begins to cry and the search leader motions to Lorenzo, knowing that she killed Cody. Brenda reveals that Freedomland is the wrong place to look. She leads them to another park, in which they find a shallow grave covered with heavy rocks, where Cody is buried. Lorenzo calls in the forensic team, ordering an exhumation. He also realizes Brenda couldn't have moved such heavy rocks.
Lorenzo takes her back to the police department and they talk. Brenda then confesses she was having an affair with Billy, a man from the projects. She would feed Cody cough syrup, to get him to sleep, so she could have sex with Billy without interruption. On the night Billy ended the relationship, Cody wouldn't fall asleep and Brenda and Billy fought. Brenda walked out to see him, despite her son's warnings that she would be sorry. When she returned, she found Cody dead under the table. He'd overdosed on the cough syrup. When Brenda realized what happened, she lost it, not knowing what to do. She drove out to the woods and dug his grave with her bare hands. Then she called her ex-lover and asked him to help. He carried Cody out there, buried him, and put the rocks over the grave - both as a tribute and to keep animals away. Lorenzo signs an arrest warrant and both Brenda and Billy are taken away.
That night, the police make their presence known in the projects due to the tensions over the arrest of another black man. Tensions are even higher, and Lorenzo implores both sides to calm down and step back before things go too far. However, several tenants do not. Among them is a young man Lorenzo has been trying to keep out of trouble, who throws the first punch at a police officer saying "Y'all have a good night". The situation erupts into a full-scale riot. Fires are set, people beaten, cops jumped and arrests made everywhere. Lorenzo attempts to break up fights but ends up getting struck by a billy club when pulling a tenant off of a fellow cop.
The next day, Brenda is charged with criminal negligence in court and sits in prison awaiting trial. Lorenzo visits Brenda in prison and tells her to channel her grief into something positive - helping other prisoners. Brenda says she loves Lorenzo for his heart, and thanks him, then kisses him. He promises he'll visit her. Then he visits his son and breaks down into tears. Later on, Lorenzo and his partner go to a memorial for Kent, the search mother's dead son, and Cody. Lorenzo reads a eulogy about life, and thanks his partner for bringing him there, as they walk away.
- Samuel L. Jackson as Officer Lorenzo Council
- Julianne Moore as Brenda Martin
- Edie Falco as Karen Collucci
- Ron Eldard as Danny Martin
- William Forsythe as Boyle
- Aunjanue Ellis as Felicia
- Anthony Mackie as Billy Williams
- Marlon Sherman as Cody
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2010)|