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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore and Edie Falco
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 15
Available 08 September 2008

When a woman walks into a hospital with her hands badly cut, the police are called in. The woman, Brenda, is suffering from severe shock but the investigating officer, Lorenzo, discovers that she is an apparent victim of a car-jacking. Brenda gives a description of her attacker: an African-American man who attacked her in a rough neighbourhood. She also reveals that her four-year-old son was asleep when the car was stolen. As the hunt gets underway to find the criminal and the young boy, Lorenzo realises that Brenda may not be telling the entire truth. And as racial tension begins to escalate, Lorenzo needs to get to the bottom of the mystery before all hell breaks loose...

Freedomland is a pretty gripping drama that stars Samuel L. Jackson as a police detective who is investigating a car-jacking and accidental child abduction. Two neighbourhoods are at the centre of the story. The first, Gannon, is a predominately while, middle-class district which borders the second area, Dempsey, which is a poor area mainly populated by African-Americans.

Brenda lives in Gannon, but is car-jacked in Dempsey. This results in the police descending on Dempsey in a bid to find the missing boy, but the locals don't see it quite that way. Some want to know why the police never showed an interest in the past when their children were attacked, but as soon as one white child is abducted the police arrive in force.

While the locals tolerate the police presence, and heavy handed tactics, because a young life is at stake, as time progresses, and it becomes obvious that the boy is not in Dempsey, the residents start to fight back against the police. Lorenzo must work fast to come up with results before the residents of Dempsey and the police come to blows.

There are so many red herrings here to throw you off the scent so that you never really know what has happened to Brenda's son, Cody, until the final scenes. Is he still alive or was he the victim of a car-jacking? There are other possibilities though. Is Brenda's brother, a cop in Gannon, responsible? Or what about the group of volunteers who travel the country tracking down missing children? Their leader seems haunted by the fact her child's body was never found, and they have a habit of finding the corpses of other peoples children - is she unhinged and killing other peoples children? Or could Brenda know more than she's letting on?

Extras include Adapting Himself - Writing Freedomland (8 min, 56 sec interview with Richard Price who wrote the novel and screenplay for the movie. It was interesting to hear Price's thoughts including his views on racism: "Racism is like American flu - everyone has got it". There are also interviews with Detective Calvin Hart and Donna Cutugno - the detective that Lorenzo was based on and a member of "Friends of Jennifer", a real life group that the organisation in the movie is based on. Both Hart and Cutugno also appear in the movie); Race on the Job (12 min, 22 sec featurette that looks at race in the emergency services); The Look of Freedomland (12 min, 29 sec interview with the crew responsible for the look of the movie); and Deleted Scene: You Can't Hit Her (4 min, 39 sec deleted scene which would have been better left in the movie).

To be honest, though, as enjoyable a movie as this is I can't really recommend this on Blu-ray. The DVD release is selling on most Internet retailers for around £6 and it includes the same extras as you get on the Blu-ray edition. And I'm not even sure if the picture quality is likely to be any different.

Having said that, this is still an enjoyable movie whether you own it on Blu-ray or DVD.


Pete Boomer

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