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Lakeview Terrace
From the man that brought us "The Wicker Man" remake.
Lakeview Terrace
Samuel L. Jackson Stars in "Lakeview Terrace."
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $32,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

May 27th, 2008: An LAPD officer (Jackson) will stop at nothing to force out the interracial couple who just moved in next door.

What to Expect: As a selling point, it leaves a lot to be desired. "Now playing, at a theater near you, from the director who brought you The Wicker Man..." After unloading on the general public the widely reviled 2006 remake of the cult horror classic -- which spawned a host of Youtube videos mocking star Nicolas Cage's leaden, spastic performance - director Neil LaBute has a lot to answer for. The upcoming "Lakeview Terrace," which features Samuel L. Jackson as a veteran LAPD cop incensed by his new neighbors' interracial marriage, could be a chance for LaBute, who wrote and directed the critically acclaimed black-hearted comedy "In the Company of Men" eleven years ago, to make amends.

Article continues below

The movie certainly offers the potential for Jackson to deliver a powerful performance on a powerful subject. With a neatly trimmed, graying goatee, Jackson stars as Abel Turner, an LAPD officer and single father who loathes the young interracial couple, Chris (white) and Lisa (black) Mattson, who just moved in next door to his suburban Los Angeles house. He begins harassing the couple and as his insecurity with their situation grows so does the harassment. The cop sets up flood lights that eliminate the couple's bedroom at night, slashes their tires and even uses his city issued firearm to try to intimidate the couple. Eventually, the stalking gets so bad they realize that they must fight back, which is no easy feat, considering his position as a veteran on the force.

What is most interesting about this story is that it actually mirrors actual events that occurred in the small California suburban town much like Lakeview Terrace called Altadena. In Altadena last year, a young interracial couple named John (white) and Mellanie (black) Hamilton had just moved in next door to Irsie Henry, a black veteran of the LAPD department. Henry began harassing John, calling him names and trying to intimidate him in variety of ways including running surveillance on the couple's house. The Hamiltons eventually got a restraining order against him, but that did little to stem the stalking. As the intimidation increased, the couple decided to try to fight back, running counter surveillance in an attempt to build a case against the well entrenched Henry. Finally one day Henry went too far and actually pepper sprayed John as he was coming out of his house. The incident was caught on tape by both Henry and the Hamilton's surveillance tapes and the evidence was used to charge Henry with more serious crimes including assault. That case is still pending.

Doesn't that storyline seem too similar to the upcoming movie to be a near coincidence? Well the writers and director have not mentioned the case at all as inspiration and it seems that they have no intention to do so. I will be curious to see if the movie culminates with Turner using pepper spray or some other non lethal police weapon on Chris, or will it go more the "Cape Fear" route with a battle to the death.

There really is a few ways to look at this. The really positive way is using this movie to gauge how far our society has come in terms of racial tolerance. If you think about it, a movie that has a black guy putting down a white guy over race would have been laughable twenty years ago. The reason for that is in order to be able to discriminate, one race must be believable in a certain position of power. That is why throughout movie history it has always been the bigoted white sheriff picking on some disenfranchised minority. However, it is 2008, and our country has come a long way. We have a serious black candidate for president and a serious movie about a black guy picking on a white guy. Wow, how far we have come indeed. However, this movie is really not done well enough to warrant such serious discussion. It truly lacks the emotion and inspiration that most films that deal with the issue have. Instead, it is really trying to just be a thriller, and as far as thrillers go, don't expect a "Cape Fear" out of this one either.

The only thing this movie really has going for it is Samuel L. Jackson, who has shined in every film he has ever been involved with ever since his break out role in "Pulp Fiction." However, the most unfortunate thing about Jackson is the fact that he will do any movie that is offered to him. As he puts it, "Would I pay my money to see this? And then I say, 'Would I pay money to see this with me in it?' And if the answer is yes, then I do it." Well there are plenty of movies I pay to see, and realize they are terrible half way through, and I am sure Jackson gets that buyer's remorse on about half the movies he stars in. However, to Jackson's credit, he does not give up on them and usually makes them much better. He was able to take a movie like "Snakes on a Plane" and make it a minor cult classic with some great one liners and "Terrace" will give him plenty of opportunities to do so as well. Seeing Jackson say things like: "You want to call the cops?...I'll tell you who's on duty." Or "I'm the POLICE, you have to do what I say" should be pretty memorable and very funny. Unfortunately this film really is not trying to be funny, but with a script written by David Laughery (Money Train, Passenger 57) and Jackson starring, it really might end up being more funny than anything else.

The real gauge to this movie's success are the other two co-stars: Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson. Washington is fresh from major roles in "I Think I Love My Wife" and "The Last King of Scotland" and is obviously on the upswing of her career. And this movie can really help that. Wilson, an emerging actor/heart-throb with an extensive theater background has really spent much of his career doing chick flicks. Even in this more serious role it looks like he was cast more based on looks than actual talent. However, for a very long time it was rumored that Ashton Kutcher would assume the part of Mattson. Moviegoers should be grateful not to have to suffer through Mr. Punk'd attempting to shoehorn his awkward white-boyfriend role opposite Bernie Mac in "Guess Wh"o into the confines of a thriller. So I guess Wilson is definitely the lesser of two evils.

In Conclusion: Will this movie be a commentary on prejudice and 21st Century race relations, or merely another cop going off the rails film. Based on the prior work of director Neil LaBute, it looks like the latter. The movie just lacks the scale and heart that a film dealing with such controversial issues requires. Of course no one should spend their hard earned money to go see it in the theaters, not even Jackson.

Similar Titles: Cape Fear, Unlawful Entry, Crash
September 19th, 2008 (wide)
January 27th, 2009 (DVD)

Screen Gems

Neil LaBute

Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington, Eva La Rue, Bitsie Tulloch

Total: 26 vote(s).

Drama, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 (for intense thematic material, violence, sexuality, language and some drug references.

106 min




Lakeview Terrace at Trailer Addict

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