| Note: Two Movie Reviews submitted for "Lakeview Terrace" by Keith Cohen and Jolene Mendez.
1 1/2 Stars (Out of four)
Review by Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"
Samuel L. Jackson continues to take any part to stay busy and in the public eye. His latest poor choice fits perfectly with previous disappointing entries “Jumper,” “Black Snake Moan,” “Snakes on a Plane” and “The Man.”
This low-budget production with a run-of-the-mill script panders to an audience craving for escalating violence.
Jackson plays Abel Turner, a tough cop living in an upscale suburban neighborhood. He is a strict disciplinarian, raising his two daughters with a rigid set of rules. His wife died in a head-on freeway collision three years ago. He blames white people for his loss.
An interracial newlywed couple, Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington), pick the wrong time and place to move into Turner’s neighborhood. He doesn’t think they belong together and frowns on their union. He devotes the entire movie to making their lives uncomfortable and getting them to leave. He accuses the Caucasian hubby of pretending to be black.
The accumulation of Turner’s taunting remarks puts chinks in Chris and Lisa’s delicate relationship. Their marital problems muddy the waters and detract from the ongoing dispute with Turner. This very manipulative movie goes from bad to worse. It sets back race relations 45 years. There is nobody here worth caring about or having sympathy for.
The movie waffles between the two sides being mad at each other and reconciling their differences. This tiresome story seems to drag on forever.
An approaching wildfire looms in the background, bringing nature into the conflict. You keep hoping the fire will burn up the remaining reels.
Jackson gets in a few sarcastic, smartass zingers, but most of the dialogue is trite and clichéd. Wilson (“Little Children”) and Washington (“The Last King of Scotland” and “Ray”) make an attractive couple. It seems like they rushed to the altar without discussing important issues like when to start producing offspring. They learn too late in the game how high fences enhance privacy and make better neighbors.
Acclaimed director Neil LaBute (“In the Company of Men” and “The Shape of Things”), a KU graduate, should stick with writing his own screenplays and avoid the inferior material of others. You would be wise to take a detour and avoid this celluloid address.
LAKEVIEW TERRACE - 2 Stars (Out of four)
Review by Jolene Mendez
Samuel L Jackson takes the lead in "Lakeview Terrace", as a cop who will stop at nothing to force the new interracial couple next door to vacate. Chris (Patrick Wilson) and Lisa Mattson (Kerry Washington) have just found their dream home and soon find safety when they realize their new neighbor is officer Abel Turner (Jackson), a member of the LAPD. Mr. Turner is a single dad raising two children with his military antics. The couple’s safety soon turns to paranoia as the officer begins to show his true colors. Mr. Turner is not fond of his newlyweds next door and begins to torment them by angling flood lights into their bedroom, damaging their air conditioning unit and even going as far as breaking into their garage and slashing their vehicle’s tires.
When Lisa and Chris’ presence is felt unwanted they take control of the situation and begin to fight back. The more the Mattson’s fight Mr. Turner the worse the situation gets. Things only intensify when Lisa reveals to Chris she is pregnant, a pregnancy he is not ready for. Adding this stress to an already tense situation only causes a blow out between the two stubborn neighbors. Even after learning of Abel’s reasons for hatred towards interracial couples, no grief is felt for him. After all revelations we reach a final chapter in this neighborly feud.
Lakeview Terrace is not a hit by any means, but it is a lot better than Jackson’s last film Snakes on a Plane and much improved for director Neil LaBute, known for his previous work on The Wicker Man. Of course Samuel L Jackson as the manipulative and creepy officer Turner is a masterpiece; he could play a giraffe and pull it off gracefully. He definitely stole the show. Beautiful cinematography added a great layer to this otherwise dull film. Watching the film was not entertaining, it was suspenseful and tense. Lakeview Terrace will have you questioning how well you know your neighbors and hope that you always feel safe in your own home.