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Freedomland Reviews

Dave Calhoun
Time Out
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This mixed-up, self-important thriller is adapted by Richard Price from his own novel and wastes a talented cast.

Full Review Source: Time Out

June 24, 2006
David Edelstein
New York Magazine
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Moviemakers who exploit the suffering and death of children to ratchet up the dramatic stakes belong in the innermost circle of hell, but Freedomland -- clumsy and overwrought as it is -- earns the right to its harrowing trajectory.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine

May 12, 2006
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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What begins as a familiar kind of media-circus melodrama ends up being something much more complex and tangled.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

February 23, 2006
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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A sometimes heavy-handed urban drama punctuated by some devastatingly effective scenes.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

February 21, 2006
Robert Wilonsky
Village Voice
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The performances all around are lousy -- histrionic and turgid, a most lethal combination.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

February 21, 2006

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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February 18, 2006
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
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Freedomland is, at best, a noble failure, which leaves the charred aftertaste of a burned opportunity.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail

February 17, 2006
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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The thing that makes Freedomland riveting is the way in which its tale of human tragedy unfolds.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

February 17, 2006
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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What saves Freedomland are the individual scenes and the interplay of people.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 17, 2006
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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Freedomland, -- is a jittery, overwrought drama that does all it can to vanquish the fine performances lurking within it.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 17, 2006
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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Freedomland is a good idea that got out of control.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2/4

February 17, 2006
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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Freedomland is so well-acted, so poignantly written, that you can almost forget its excesses and shortcomings and embrace it for what it is -- a serious writer's exploration of racism, cop mob mentality and the mechanics of guilt.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 3/5

February 17, 2006
Gene Seymour
Newsday
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Freedomland, the movie, doesn't flow at all. Joe Roth, who as a director makes an excellent producer, tries hard and you can see the effort throughout.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 2/4

February 17, 2006
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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The movie it's in isn't wonderful, but Moore always is.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 17, 2006
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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Freedomland is the kind of dispiriting February botch that makes you wonder if mainstream Hollywood would be better off abandoning serious subjects to the world of specialized film.

| Original Score: 1/4

February 17, 2006
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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The film is dark and claustrophobic, and so confined in its location as to seem more like an adaptation of a play than a novel.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 17, 2006
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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The compression renders Freedomland as a slight, not entirely engaging mystery with slight overtones about the dangers of racial profiling.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2/4

February 17, 2006
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
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It tries hard and means well. And I couldn't hardly wait for it to end. Freedomland falls short as entertainment.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 1.5/4

February 17, 2006
Tom Long
Detroit News
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Situations that should have great emotional impact drag on into embarrassing shrillness; moments that are supposed to be heavy become leaden.

Full Review Source: Detroit News

February 17, 2006
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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Freedomland is not an opportunity denied, just squandered.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 2/4

February 17, 2006
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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Like too many recent movies, Freedomland doesn't know how or when to end, but it has some emotional impact, and it's not shy about dealing with race in volatile ways.

| Original Score: B

February 17, 2006
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Freedomland entertains with smarts, reminding us that the resolution of one mystery doesn't necessarily snuff out the fuse it ignited.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3/4

February 17, 2006
Owen Gleiberman
CNN.com
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The complication in Freedomland arises out of Brenda's hysteria, which is so extreme that we doubt her story even before we've bought into it, and from the movie's dogged, booby-trapped demonstration of the sins of racism.

Full Review Source: CNN.com | Original Score: B-

February 17, 2006
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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First-rate actors bail out second-rate directors all the time, and Freedomland serves as the latest example.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

February 17, 2006
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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Freedomland, an overblown urban crime drama that should be a lot better than it is.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 1.5/4

February 17, 2006
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
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There are places where you can see a subtler, angrier picture trying to kick its way out of the one you're watching.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

February 16, 2006
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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Steer clear of Freedomland, the movie. Your time would be better spent reading Richard Price's much more compelling 1998 novel.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 1.5/4

February 16, 2006
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
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Freedomland, written by Richard Price from his novel of the same name, directed by Joe Roth and produced by Scott Rudin, purports to be a social study of racial tensions straining under the weight of a highly publicized, hot-button tragedy.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2/5

February 16, 2006
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Roth takes three powerhouse actors -- Julianne Moore as the mother, Samuel L. Jackson as the cop who interrogates her and Edie Falco as another woman who lost her son -- and reduces their talents to rubble and their characters to screeching cliches.

| Original Score: 1/4

February 16, 2006
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
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Freedomland, a lethally dull drama about a white child who may have gone missing in a New Jersey public housing complex, is an early candidate for worst film of the year.

| Original Score: 1.5/5

February 16, 2006
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
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The film is filled with good performances, though most of them are frittered away by director Joe Roth, who can never find a focus for the story.

| Original Score: 2/4

February 16, 2006
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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In Roth's hands, Freedomland is a civics lesson disguised as a police drama, shrouded in a mystery that's not very mysterious to anyone who has seen the trailer.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 2/4

February 16, 2006
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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A monumentally overwrought story of child endangerment, racial antagonism, mob violence and police brutality, it provides some of our finest actors the opportunity to behave like bug-eyed, tinfoil-hat-wearing loonies.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 1.5/4

February 16, 2006
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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Director Joe Roth pumps up the hysteria and the racial rumbles, but a cooler hand would have made for a hotter movie.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: B-

February 16, 2006
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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What could have been an unusually smart police procedural becomes a sprawling, overwrought melodrama that itself morphs into a sort of spiritual romance.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

February 16, 2006
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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As more and more plot lines, characters and possibilities enter the picture, Freedomland loses sight of the tensions that set it in motion in the first place.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: C+

February 16, 2006
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
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A heap of prodigious talent in an orgy of compensatory overacting.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

February 16, 2006
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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Freedomland assembles the elements for a superior thriller, but were the instructions lost when the box was opened?

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2/4

February 16, 2006
Steve Murray
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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A blunt, awkward, wannabe Important Movie, Freedomland bludgeons its good ideas into a pulp of overacting, overdirection and black-and-white characterizations in a story meant to be shaded in gray.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: C-

February 16, 2006
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Watchable as it is, Freedomland comes to very little, because it keeps showing you the seams of its good intentions.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B-

February 15, 2006
Sheri Linden
Hollywood Reporter
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A moving portrait of hurting souls, brought to life in compelling performances.

February 10, 2006
Brian Lowry
Variety
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Brimming with high ambitions but disjointed and ultimately unsatisfying.

Full Review Source: Variety

February 9, 2006
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