Friday, February 17, 2006


If you are thinking about going to see the new film "Freedomland" tonight, I would advise you to wait at least one day. I haven't seen it, and it might be very good, but unless the movie deviates wildly from Richard Price's novel - unlikely, since he also wrote the screenplay - this is not what my friend "Blaine from Maine" would call a "Friday night movie." If you haven't seen the ads, Julianne Moore plays a woman who claims her car was stolen with her baby still inside it. She accuses an unidentified black man from the projects, which enflames tensions between two racially segregated communites and, pretty soon, it's chuckles all around.

Price also wrote the novels "Clockers" and "The Wanderers" and is an accomplished screenwriter, with "Sea of Love" and "The Color of Money" to his credit. He reunited with Martin Scorsese on Michael Jackson's "Bad" video, which I am sure seemed like a good idea at the time. I haven't read "The Wanderers," but I didn't find a lot of levity in "Clockers" or "Freedomland." They are serious studies of life in modern America, compelling and well written, but they don't give you a lot of hope.

As far as the movie, I feel like we have already seen Julianne Moore play this role two years ago in "The Forgotten" where her character fights to remember a son erased from her memory by aliens. It's a much different plot, but again the central issue is her credibility and a mother-child relationship.

"Freedomland" was directedby Joe Roth, whose previous directing credits include "Christmas with the Kranks" and "Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise," so this would seem to be quite a departure for him. But, thanks to, we can tie this in a neat little bow by learning that Roth's extensive producer credits include ... "The Forgotten."

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