GenreCrime, Drama, Mystery Initial DVD releaseMay 30, 2006 CountryUnited States
Release dateFebruary 17, 2006 (2006-02-17) Based onFreedomland
by Richard Price WriterRichard Price (screenplay), Richard Price (novel) CastSamuel L. Jackson (Lorenzo Council), Julianne Moore (Brenda Martin), Edie Falco (Karen Collucci), Aunjanue Ellis (Felicia), William Forsythe (Boyle), Anthony Mackie (Billy Williams) Similar moviesShaft, Hairspray, A Bronx Tale, Hart's War, Remember the Titans, Jungle Fever
TaglineThe Truth Is Hiding Where No One Dares To Look.
Freedomland is a 2006 American crime drama mystery film directed by Joe Roth and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, Ron Eldard, William Forsythe, Aunjanue Ellis, and Anthony Mackie. It is based on Richard Price's 1998 novel of the same name, which touches on themes of covert racism.
Brenda (Julianne Moore) walks through a predominantly African American housing project and enters an emergency room, apparently in shock and with cut and bleeding hands. Police detective Lorenzo Council (Samuel L. Jackson) is sent to take a statement from Brenda, who says that her car has been stolen. When Lorenzo gets there, she reveals that her young son, Cody, was in the back seat of the car. The police frantically begin searching for Cody.
Brenda's brother, Danny (Ron Eldard), a police officer in a neighboring town, calls a massive police presence in to search the housing project for clues. This angers the residents who protest their innocence. Lorenzo begins to suspect that Brenda is holding back details from him and pressures her to tell the truth. She insists that she has told the truth and would never harm her son. With a sketch artist she produces a picture of the man she says stole her car. Danny's white coworkers arrest a man from the housing project who they think matches the picture. Danny flies into a rage and beats him.
Desperate to find Cody, Lorenzo enlists the aid of a volunteer group which helps search for missing children. He suggests that they search Freedomland, an abandoned foundling hospital nearby. As they search, the group's leader Karen Collucci (Edie Falco) talks with Brenda. Collucci had lost her own son years before and convinces Brenda to admit that Cody is dead. She leads them to a nearby park where they find Cody's body in a shallow grave, covered with heavy rocks.
Lorenzo realizes that Brenda could not have moved the rocks herself. Under interrogation Brenda admits to having been engaged in an affair with a man named Billy (Anthony Mackie) who lived in the projects. She would give Cody cough syrup so that he would fall asleep and she could visit Billy. On the night in question she had returned to find Cody dead, having drunk a whole bottle of cough syrup. Billy helped her bury his body. When the police go to arrest Billy, they are confronted by residents angry over previous unfounded police harassment and a riot erupts. Brenda is charged with criminal neglect, and Lorenzo promises to visit her in jail.
Samuel L. Jackson as Detective Lorenzo Council
Julianne Moore as Brenda Martin
Edie Falco as Karen Collucci
Ron Eldard as Danny Martin
William Forsythe as Detective Bobby Boyle
Aunjanue Ellis as Felicia
Anthony Mackie as Billy Williams
LaTanya Richardson as Marie
Clarke Peters as Reverend Longway
Peter Friedman as Lt. Gold
Domenick Lombardozzi as Leo Sullivan
Aasif Mandvi as Dr. Anil Chatterjee
Philip Bosco as Priest
Dorian Missick as Jason Council
Marlon Sherman as Cody
Shooting took place mostly in Yonkers, New York.
Freedomland holds an approval rating of 23% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 149 reviews. The consensus states: "Poorly directed and overacted, Freedomland attempts to address sensitive race and class issues but its overzealousness misses the mark." Metacritic rated it 43/100 based on 35 reviews.
The film grossed $14.7 million against its $30 million budget.