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In this allegory of Little Red Riding Hood, Vanessa (Reese Witherspoon) is a teenager on the run from foster care as an alternative to her sordid and abusive household, to seek temporary refuge at Grandmaís house. When her car, on loan from her boyfriend left behind, breaks down, Bob Wolverton (Kiefer Sutherland) stops to lend a hand. Bob, a child psychologist, uses his expertise to gain her trust before revealing himself to be the Big Bad Wolf, out to abuse, torture and kill her. Vanessa shoots him, but he is only disfigured. Now the law is really after her, and the hunt is on, and even the trial canít stop it. It all ends at Grandmaís house.

"Freeway is an overt, contrived nasty film that relies on violence and obscene, grotesque behaviour for laughs; all under the guise of an allegory of the Little Red Riding Hood story. Themes covered are drug-use, prostitution, molestation, lesbianism, disfiguration - all presented with a backdrop of sensational, perverted violence. Matthew Bright has come up with a film whose message is dubious, although it does also convey the message that if youíre born on the wrong side of the tracks and cross the law, you may not be believed. What Freeway does do, is bring a sensational performance from Reese Witherspoon as Vanessa, the woman/child with an anger problem. Witherspoon is mesmerising and totally engages. Kiefer Sutherland as the child psychologist/good samaritan/perverted big bad wolf starts off well, and the scene in the 4WD as Vanessa confides in him is full of tension, intrigue and anticipation. Following his disfiguration, Sutherlandís subsequent over-the-top performance somehow loses the previous brilliance and is played for laughs. Freeway combines realism with over-the-top fabrication; at times to engrossing and bewitching effect. Danny Elfmanís music score is strong and emphasises the perverse, evil, twisted nature of the film. This is not a film for everyone, in fact, itís main appeal is in the gross fascination for the grotesque."
Louise Keller

"As Louise says . . . Itís already been cut from 102 minutes, probably gruesomely with blunt and rusty scissors, but Iíd like to see it cut some more, as a tough little short film, using the early driving sequence Louise refers to as its core. That, as part of the total set up in Freeway, is excellent filmmaking, and the performance of Amanda Plummer as the drug-taking prostitute mother is at least as astonishing as is Witherspoonís. Then it all collapses into vileness. And silliness, like the scene where Bob Wolverton Ė subtle, eh? - (Sutherland) plays out the grandma scenario; itís the low point in a low flying film. Is there a message that Iíve missed? Is Little Red Riding Hood just as bad as the wolf? She certainly has a claim to equality in the rough-house stakes, and it could be argued that her descent into amorality is in part caused by her environment. But this is not a well presented message, nor a novel one. Hereís a clue or two: one of the executive producers is Oliver Stone; and it is self-styled as an Ďartploitationí film. You might think thatís just pretentious exploitation. It did get selected for competition at Sundance last year (1996), which suggests that some people feel it is a worthy show of independent filmmaking in the US. Judge for yourselves."
Andrew L. Urban

"Fairy tales do come true, it could happen to you ---- thatís how the song goes, and in Freeway, itís sung in perfect harmony, as Little Red Riding Hood gets a strictly adult treatment. One can understand why Freeway divides audiences, as itís a tough parable if ever there was one. But itís also an extraordinarily inventive film, an electrifying and powerful drama that brutally tears away at the faÁade of childhood. Itís a chilling, intense, wickedly funny moral tale, one that some Witherspoon as Vanessa, who is illuminating, poignant, child-like, yet mature. Sutherland makes an appropriate big bad wolf. This is no ordinary fairy tale, but a cautionary piece that is so absurd, so wildly entertaining, that its obvious shortcomings eventually dissipate."
Paul Fischer

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CAST: Kiefer Sutherland, Resse Witherspoon, Brooke Shields, Wolfgang Bodison, Dan Hedaya, Amanda Plummer, Michael T. Weiss, Bokeem Woodbine

PRODUCER: Brad Wyman, Chris Hanley

DIRECTOR: Matthew Bright

SCRIPT: Matthew Bright


EDITOR: Maysie Hoy

MUSIC: Danny Elfman


RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 4 1997 - Melb/Adel/Perth;

Dec 11 - Syd/ Bris

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