John is taken on a murder-fueled ride by a mysterious stranger that transforms the weak-willed, disillusioned husband and father into a desperate hero willing to go to any length to protect his family.
Samuel L. Jackson,
Though it's been about twenty years since they have spoken with one another, two estranged soul-singing legends agree to participate in a reunion performance at the Apollo Theater to honor their recently deceased band leader.
A successful asset manager, who has just received a huge promotion, is blissfully happy in his career and in his marriage. But when a temp worker starts stalking him, all the things he's worked so hard for are placed in jeopardy.
In California, the Caucasian Chris Mattson and his African-American wife Lisa Mattson move to a house in a gated community. The racist and dysfunctional next-door neighbor is the abusive LAPD Officer Abel Turner who feels uncomfortable with the relationship of the newcomers and transforms their lives into Hell on Earth.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A Google Earth Street View camera car photographed the cul-de-sac during production. Users could view North Deer Creek Drive in Walnut, California, using Street View, to see film crew and set hardware in place. The street view image has now been updated to a newer version at a later date. See more »
When Chris introduces himself, he says he came out to Berkeley from Chicago to accept a lacrosse scholarship. UC Berkeley has only a club lacrosse team for men, and does not offer scholarships. See more »
The way it seems to me, the man never made an actual threat against your life or property. So it's his word against yours. And he has, let's say, the color issue on his side. And that color happens to be blue.
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starts out strong and captivating... and then its motivations run dry and the drama turns to ill metaphors
I'm sure Neil LaBute is a talented director- I've enjoyed both Your Friends and Neighbors and the criminally underrated Nurse Betty (not seen In the Company of Men or Shape of Things, but heard great things about both, not so much the Wicker Man redux)- and Lakeview Terrace occasionally flashes some moments that reveal his understanding of the subject matter at hand. Other times, he just lets the screenwriters do it for him, and it turns out far less fascinating or really disturbing as it could have been. Early on the story speaks its promise: a conservative LA cop- yes, conservative first and foremost as one notes the character's disdain for democrats or just liberalism in general- played by Sam Jackson sees a white guy (Patrick Wilson) and black woman (Kerry Washington) move in. From the get-go there's hostility, if at first more subtle and just annoying. And there's some possible questions that could be raised in the course of the running time of the picture, if just as possibilities.
But the problem, very soon to see, is that everything that motivates Jackson's character to act the way he does becomes twisted around a plot contrivance. I won't spoil it (not to really shield you from it, just because it's not worth it if you intend on seeing it), but something from Abel's history that shouldn't be so blatant and be more ambiguous or allow Jackson as an actor some room for subtlety or room for interpretation is shoved down our collective gullets. One might wish that there would be more room for three-dimensionality in general, but at best we get just 2D and at worst it's basically one continuous drumming beat until we almost kind of dread Jackson's character coming in on Wilson and Washingtons' scenes, not so much because he's supposed to be menacing but because it throws off the flow of the story. It's not even that Jackson is bad in the performance, on the contrary he does the best he can and sometimes does bring that flash or just flinch of the face that reminds us how good an actor he can be.
LaBute can't figure out entirely how to proceed with a highly charged drama, however, without a heavy-handed metaphorical device. It is a fact that the Southern California has been a hot-bed of wildfires spreading all about, destroying lots of pricey property and leveling to waste millions (maybe billions) of dollars of revenue. The tactic here in Lakeview Terrace is to take that symbol of fire burning down a city and transplant it into the burning down of racial bonding and peace and yada yada, and it's not really a metaphor/symbol/whatever that hits right away - but when it does, yikes is it an over-bearing claptrap made especially for the climax (I was almost pining for that also hackneyed Haggis formula of crashes in Crash).
And, again, motivation and really well-defined characters end up sinking this after the promising first act; as soon as Abel's agitation turns to practically psychotic behavior, it's hard to actually connect with this past something out of a horror movie. And I don't mean that as something for a cathartic reaction or other. Wilson and Washingtons' characters don't help much either as we're privy to a contrived sub-plot involving an "unintentional" pregnancy (not to mention Jackson's own semi-interesting sub-plot with him screwing up on the force). By the end it turns to being laughable as a quasi-revenge quasi-what-the-hell treatise on uneasy racial relations where just some more hints of unintentional racism, as opposed to just the sinister presence of big-bad-black-*cop*, might be an advantage. 5.5/10
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