Freedomland (2006) Movie Ending Explained: Directed by Joe Roth, Freedomland (2006) features the excellent performance of Julianne Moore along with Samuel L. Jackson. The film itself is written with utmost care and profound appeal. The thrill builds up very well as the plot unfolds slowly. Based on a novel of the same name by Richard Price, the movie sets a standard in the mystery thriller genre. What happens when society pushes you to an extent and when you start finding comfort in someone, and they leave you, too? Well, let’s find out.

Spoilers Ahead

Freedomland (2006) Plot Explained:

The film starts with Brenda Martin roaming around the streets of a locality called Armstrong. She ends up in a hospital when the authorities call in Detective Lorenzo Council as she has blood on her hands. When Lorenzo confronts her, she explains that her car is being hijacked and her four-year-old son, Cody, is in the car. Lorenzo understands the sincerity of the matter, and he alerts all the stations nearby to look for a stolen car with a 4-year-old boy inside.

The situation grows even more tense when we find out that Brenda has a brother who works for the Gannon police, a neighboring force close to the Armstrong locality. Now, why is Danny, Brenda’s brother, a problem? Well, Danny doesn’t like the Black people who are residing in Armstrong. And to make matters worse, the people there do not like white police officers at all. Lorenzo works as a moderator between them, so he knows what Danny will do when he finds out that Brenda was last seen in that locality only.

Why does Lorenzo want to protect the Armstrong neighborhood?

In the Armstrong neighborhood, there is always tension between the Black people and the whites. Lorenzo, being a Black person himself, has friends from both sides. The need for peace has always been his top priority, as he has seen where violence leads to. His son Jason himself is serving jail time because of armed robbery charges. No matter how many people say that it is not his fault, Lorenzo always blames himself for not being there for his son.

There are instances where the people of Armstrong suffered for no particular reason at all. One of the many reasons why, right after the disappearance of Cody, when the police seize the whole area, people start to get angrier than anxious or irritated. A revolt awaits like a ticking bomb as the police don’t really answer the big question, ‘Why should we suffer?’

Yes, someone’s child is lost, but they have lost their children in the past. They start to think that at that time, there was no such intensity in the search, but since the child of a white woman is lost, the police suddenly take a whole lot of interest in the case. These kinds of questions do not really have any answer, and so, no matter how much Lorenzo tries, the anger heats up. Even in the middle, Danny punches a local boy named Rafik, thinking about him being one of the culprits in the Cody case. All of these only make things worse for the department.

How does Karen manage to break Brenda?

When the desperation gets worse, Lorenzo contacts the locals who help find lost kids. The group’s leader, Karen, has lost her son too, and he was never found. Karen and her team gather a search party, and they start combing a deserted theme park named Freedomland. Nothing was found there, but Karen somehow starts talking about how she felt during the times when she had to confront the killer.

She says to Brenda that the only thing she will ask the killer is whether her son is dead or alive. She puts pressure on the questions in a way like she is asking Brenda if she knows her son is dead or alive. Why is that? Through Danny, Lorenzo learns that Brenda uses drugs or used to have them in the past. This intrigues the question in his mind if she had killed her own son.

Freedomland (2006)
A still from ‘Freedomland’ (2006)

He needs to make sure of it because of the seriousness of the charge, and so he seeks help from Karen. When Karen indirectly asks her about the child’s death, Brenda finally breaks down. She confesses that her son is already dead before she even visits the hospital and talks to Lorenzo for the first time. Lorenzo then asks her to show where she has buried her son. Brenda takes them to a place, and Karen discovers a place on the ground that is recently dug and now covered with big stones.

The size of the stones is pretty big for Brenda to take hold. But she keeps on saying that she dug up the ground herself and then carried the stones all alone. But it is evident that someone helped her in putting Cody in that place. Lorenzo forces Brenda, and she agrees to confess about everything that has happened on that night.

Freedomland (2006) Movie Ending Explained:

How is Billy involved in the Matter?

The endings of such thrillers set the entire tone of the movie. These films aren’t about ‘whodunnit’ or the plot twists. They are more of a ‘howdunnit’ or, more aptly put, a ‘whydunnit.’ The answers are never quite simple because most of the time, the crime, no matter how simple it appears, possesses deeper layers beneath the surface.

In this case, Brenda is a single mother. She has experienced many failures in her life, but Cody’s birth became a kind of paramount success for her. She starts seeing things differently. Even though her close ones mock her failures, these are not things one plans for; you never plan to fail. However, when Cody enters her life, she feels like no one can outdo her in being a mother to her son. She will not just achieve something; she will claim the throne in it.

Yet, as time progresses, her initial thoughts of dedicating her entire life to caring for Cody start to fade. A 37-year-old woman with no one to care for her meets an unhappy middle-aged man named Billy, who is discontented with his wife, Felicia. Brenda, in need of love, and Billy, dissatisfied within his home, grow close, and after a long time, Brenda starts feeling alive.

Did Brenda kill Cody?

She tries to put Cody to sleep faster than before, but he still takes an hour. Sometimes, when she puts him to bed and walks downstairs, where Billy awaits her, a little sound wakes Cody, and she needs to go back to him. Well, motherhood is not easy, but at times, you are allowed to have a time of your own. Brenda starts feeling like she is not getting that, and she wants to be with Billy more as time passes.

To be able to do so, she thinks of a less harmful way that will allow Cody to sleep earlier. She gives him a minimal dosage of cough syrup, and it works. Things start to work for Brenda. But there comes a time when Billy thinks of ending the relationship with her. Brenda takes this positively, as she doesn’t want Felicia getting hurt each day. But before her story with Billy ends for good, she just wants to meet him one last time.

But, unlike the many times, Cody warns her that if she leaves him, she will regret it while he holds the bottle of cough syrup. Cody is only four years old, and Brenda doesn’t take him seriously. She has her own reasons, and one cannot judge her. Brenda goes to Billy downstairs, and no matter how much she tries to resist, knowing that Billy is leaving her, it breaks her into pieces.

When she comes back, she sees that Cody is lying under a table, and the bottle of cough syrup is lying there, too. Brenda remembers Cody’s last words. If she leaves him, she will regret it. She doesn’t feel anything but to end her own life. Cody is dead. She doesn’t want to take her life. So she ends up calling Billy to help her in this situation.

What did Billy do to Cody?

Billy goes inside the house while Brenda waits outside, unable to reason out anything that is happening around her. Billy covers Cody’s body with a blanket and then digs up the grave. Brenda puts Cody inside the grave, thinking that she is putting him to sleep one last time. When police arrest Billy, he asks Lorenzo what he did that night, is that a bad thing? Lorenzo looks away from him, perhaps in shame. He feels like he has failed in his task of keeping the people safe. Well, such scenarios make you wonder what you could have done differently!

Also, Read: Pain Hustlers (2023) Movie Ending Explained: How does Liza expose Dr. Neel?

What happens to Lorenzo in the end?

In the end, a riot breaks out finally between the people of Armstrong and the police. Lorenzo, too, is wounded while stopping the attack. Danny seems to have confined himself when he overhears the interrogation and learns the reason behind his nephew’s death. Back in the jail, Lorenzo comes to meet with Brenda and explains to her how his son Jason, too, ends up in the same jail.

Brenda kisses Lorenzo and leaves, saying that she loves him from the first time for the way he treats her with respect. She finds comfort in him; one of the reasons why she confesses to him in the first place. Lorenzo feels empathy toward her, and he finally breaks down in tears when he meets with Jason. Jason wonders what may have happened to cause the tears, while Lorenzo hugs his boy with a promise inside his heart that, no matter what happens after, he will never leave his son’s side.

Freedomland (2006) Trailer

Freedomland (2006) Movie External Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Freedomland (2006) Movie Cast: Julianne Moore, Samuel L. Jackson, Edie Falco, Ron Eldard, Clarke Peters, and Anthony Mackie.

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