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Freedomland

When a missing white boy, an alleged black carjacker, and mounting racial tensions collide
By TOM MEEK  |  February 14, 2006
2.5 2.5 Stars
SUCKS IN THE BOOK, SUCKS HERE: But Moore gives the role a go.A practiced hand in frivolity (Revenge of the Nerds 2 and Christmas with the Kranks), director Joe Roth here moves on to something more serious: distilling Richard Price’s 700-page crime drama into a two-hour seesaw. Price’s novel is an arduous read, but the author’s script and Roth’s unobtrusive guidance streamline the yarn about a missing white boy, an alleged black carjacker, and mounting racial tensions between a blue-collar New Jersey burb and an adjacent housing project. Echoes of Susan Smith, Charles Stuart, and Rodney King follow. Crash and Price’s earlier work, Clockers, covered the same ground better, but Freedomland does drop an ace in the form of Samuel L. Jackson as Lorenzo Council, the beleaguered detective caught between race and duty. Julianne Moore throws in with her weepy-eyed best as the fractured mother who can’t remember. It’s an unsympathetic role that sucked in the book and almost does the same here.
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