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Lakeview Terrace (2008)

Lakeview Terrace (2008)

Samuel L. JacksonPatrick WilsonKerry WashingtonRon Glass
Neil LaBute


Lakeview Terrace (2008) is a English movie. Neil LaBute has directed this movie. Samuel L. Jackson,Patrick Wilson,Kerry Washington,Ron Glass are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2008. Lakeview Terrace (2008) is considered one of the best Crime,Drama,Thriller movie in India and around the world.

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.


Lakeview Terrace (2008) Reviews

  • if only they could've come up with a more CREATIVE ending


    There's an inherent problem with making a movie of this kind: unless you're a creative genius of your time, these sorts of movies have the potential to turn real generic, REAL fast. Reminiscent of Denzel Washington from Training Day, we see Samuel L. Jackson play an overly aggressive cop with an agenda, with the movie focusing on the problems he's causing for his new neighbors. A completely realistic situation that can take place anywhere. Problem is, because a movie like this is completely character driven, after you have the nice slow build up to the climax, once the tension snaps, you're relegated to basically a generically default final act of the movie where "the bad guy finally comes out of the proverbial shadows and literally chases the hero." (i.e. Disturbia, The Glass House). It's a shame too because the buildup on this was very good. Samuel L. Jackson was really scary here, he played that bullying, obsessive character perfect. The only acting problems I saw were 2-3 moments from Kerry Washington where her sad face was done poorly, with overly done lip quivers and facial movements (similar to Kirsten Dunst's crying scenes from the Spider-Man movies, except done in a BAD way). With a movie like this, you pretty much have these possible outcomes: 1) the generic, semi-predictable ending (like we got here). 2) tragic ending with hero dying at the end. 3) an unpredictable twist coming out of left field (this has the potential to be very good or very bad). 4) a Great ending. Unfortunately we usually get number one, since they wanna give the satisfying, safe, effective, tried and true, Hollywood ending. Most people are content with those types of cop out endings. I'm not.

  • Taut and well acted but with a nearly unforgivable ending


    Seven. Yes, seven. No, I'm not talking about the David Fincher directed thriller, nor am I referring to Samurai, Dwarfs or the lucky number. In this context, seven denotes the number of wince inducing minutes it takes for Lakeview Terrace to throw it all away. Particular genres of movies tend to have a nasty propensity to ruin their final acts, the foremost of those being thrillers and horror films. May it be an amateur director not knowing how to complete their vision, studio intervention sucking the life from the screen or the commonly occurring revelatory "shocker" ending which tries to jam too many ideas in the viewer's already bleeding sockets. Oddly, director Neil LaBute's latest offering does not succumb to a conventional destructive timeline, but instead opts to cataclysmically implode in literally the final scenes, a feat which few films can boast. Perhaps I am being an iota harsh, as I am recommending this film and the majority of this review will be skewed favourably, but chiefly, my unbounded feelings of contempt towards the finale should stand as a testament to their standalone absurdity which contrasts harshly with the preceding 90 or so minutes. Samuel L. Jackson has had a vibrant career portraying characters in two spectrums of the acting realm. On one side we have his depictions that can be lumped into the loud-mouthed anti-hero category (Pulp Fiction, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Snakes on a Plane), and on the other, his more nuanced (as nuanced as Sam Jackson can be) roles. (Black Snake Moan, Resurrecting the Champ, Coach Carter) Lakeview Terrace to some extent blurs this boundary, but for the most part Jackson plays his role straight, and he is very good because of it. Jackson plays Abel Turner a veteran, but widowed LAPD officer who lives his daughter Celia (Regine Nehy) and Son Marcus (Jaishon Fisher) on Lakeview Terrace in the hills. He is strict to be sure and his protective nature sometimes obscures the obvious affection for his children. It is touches like this, and similar additions by LaBute that makes his character all the more menacing when the tension later builds, as he is not so much a faceless villain, but a deeply flawed everyman. Despite an encroaching wildfire, things are routine on Lakeview; Abel patrols the neighbourhood at night, loves his job and wants nothing more then to protect his family. Things change however when a new couple move in next door. The fact that husband Chris (Patrick Wilson) wife Lisa (Keri Washington) are interracial is only the fuel for Abel's contempt, and when his children witness a late-night skinny dip by these two newlyweds, the fire erupts and Abel and Chris' lives spiral out of control. Fashioning Abel as a cop is an intelligent choice, as per the television advertisements indicate, what are they going to do, and who are the authorities going to believe; who will police the police indeed. The tension for the duration is so high, you don't even need a knife to cut it, and a definite sense of dread and menace perforates the narrative. LaBute, truthfully, makes few mistakes, he allows for character development, and as I mentioned not just regarding Chris and Lisa, lets the story develop at a slow burning pace, with the hillside fires mirroring the escalating tempers. The story is also far more insightful and caring then I ever would have anticipated regarding the complicated issue of race and marriage, without feeling shoehorned into the thriller template. As you can clearly discern I have a fairly large amount of admiration for Lakeview Terrace, which brings me to the ending. Few endings I have seen have represented such a radical shift in tone, and made its characters undertake such ridiculous and uncharacteristic actions then we see here; and I assure you it is jarring. The immediately preceding act, is an iota off kilter with the acts preceding, but does not draw attention and properly illustrates the consequences when things are taken too far in the name of retribution. I was fully under the impression that things were going to end sharply until Abel's character jolts erratically from intelligent saboteur to volcanic lunatic and makes a series of choices that are against both his nature, and what the audience would want to see transpire. Either Abel lost his mind, or the director did. Those who seek out this film in theatres may be disappointed and feel the conclusion somehow managed to bilk them out of their cash like a sneaky pickpocket. LaBute's finale does not so much embody a slap in the face, but a swift hard kick to the groin. Read all my reviews at Simon Says Movies: http://simonsaysmovies.blogspot.com/

  • Probably the first movie about racism that doesn't just spout tired clichés.


    We've all heard the "racism is evil!" thing preached, preached again, and then preached again. We get it: racism is bad. I'm not racist. I don't know anyone who is racist. Why does every single movie have to remind us of something we teach our children before they're old enough to talk? After I watched Hairspray and Be Kind Rewind in the past year alone, I officially had enough. And not only me. At the time, my best friend, who was born and raised in Africa then moved to the US, said the same thing: why can't movies just stop beating a pointless, dead, blood horse? If someone is racist, I doubt a movie is going to change their mind. Then, out of nowhere, Lakeview Terrace comes along and defies every cliché you thought you knew about racism movies. And that is really all I have to say about the topic: thank God that someone, anyone, in Hollywood gets that we're sick of being force-fed clichés. Why is Lakeview Terrace cliché-defying? It focuses on the gray aria of racism, not black-and-white. It focuses on racism held by blacks, not by whites. It veers so far from the "racism is evil!" standpoint, and makes you make up your own mind about the over-the-top plot and who was right, who was wrong. It's been so long since Hollywood actually let the audience make up their own mind, this is like a breath of fresh air. Lakeview Terrace is labeled as a thriller, which is half true. The first half builds up the social boundaries of real life, testing them, and then building them up stronger. It doesn't jump straight to action, but soaks you in reality before plunging into the over-the-top ending. When the action starts, near the ending, it is really worth the weight because it has you in a state of social tension. Anyone who says this isn't realistic doesn't understand realistic human behavior. Even in the most outrageous parts of the film, there was not a single thing done by anyone that was hard for me to believe could happen in real life. Maybe that's because I have a lot of cops in my family, or maybe it's because I'm just more tuned into reality than the optimistic-happy-"Humans are perfect!" people that are reviewing this film and calling it unrealistic. The directing, writing, and technical details are all fine. They're not artistic or "find cinema", but they're done in a way that makes the film work. The acting from Samuel L. Jackson is flawless. The casting from certain other characters is a little off, but it works out in the end. Overall, I liked Lakeview Terrace a lot. I'm the kind of person who loves thrillers, but as I said, this really isn't a thriller as much as a drama with a thriller-like ending and some thriller-like scenes scattered throughout. It's a nice break from the unintelligent mess that has become an anti-racism subgenre, and a nice break from the intense hardcore horror and action movies I enjoy watching. With that said, it didn't bore me, which really surprised me. Lakeview Terrace isn't perfect, it's not a work of art, but it's intelligent. I found it very much worth watching. 6/10

  • Honey, I'm home-owner...Lakeview Terrace


    If you wanted to see a face of shock, you should have seen me when I found out the new Samuel L. Jackson vehicle Lakeview Terrace was directed by Neil LaBute. When I think of the man I can only conjure images of the fantastic Shape of Things and In the Company of Men, and I haven't even seen that one yet. To watch the trailer for this seemingly generic, racially motivated clash between neighbors just made me shake my head in shame. If it weren't for the cast—or the free screening pass—I probably would have completely passed the film up, without a second thought. So there I was, sitting in a packed theatre, in a somewhat foul mood as security made us check our phones at the door, taking mine despite the fact it has no camera, waiting past the advertised start time. And then came Jackson on screen, waking up from sleep, fixing a photo on the nightstand of he and his wife, slowly moving downstairs to meet his children. This is a parent of morals and intelligence, telling his son to remove a Kobe Bryant jersey because of what the man stands for and constantly correcting his daughter's English so as not to have her sound like an ignorant girl from the streets. Watching him fold laundry on the couch next definitely woke me up; maybe I wasn't going to get what I thought I would after all. We are introduced to this man, Abel Turner, a cop and single father, trying to raise his children right. A man who worked double shifts and extra security jobs in order to move his family outside of the South Central neighborhood he grew up in. Sure he is rough around the edges, but he is a man of principle and it seems one that loves his children and would do anything to protect them. This buildup puts an entirely different spin on how he reacts to the moving in of Lisa and Chris Mattson, (Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson respectively), an interracial couple buying their first house. Where the trailer just shows racial tension and disgust, the actual film shows someone trying his hardest to get along, but truthfully not being shown very much in the way of friendly neighbor from the newcomers. Between making love in their pool, within eyesight of Jackson's house and the children looking out the window; Wilson throwing his cigarette butts into his yard so as to fool his wife; and a little hostility early on, one might see where Turner had a point. Is the man a little wrong in the head, though? For sure. His intimidating demeanor is not helped by the little tests he performs, including pretending to hold Wilson up in his car with a flashlight. There really isn't much to the story besides the escalating tensions mounting between the Mattsons and Turner. What at first can be construed as getting off on the wrong foot soon grows to borderline hatred with a touch of malicious intent. The threats fly and retribution is begun—you shine a flood light into my bedroom, I'll do the same. Not too long after do the children become involved, acting out against their father wanting to get to know the neighbors while he tries to shield them away. While I did not anticipate the high jump Jackson's games take towards the end, stopping any fun that might have been mixed with the not so subtle hints for the newly weds to move, going straight into thug territory, I was not surprised. The introduction of a character early on has no relevance if the story didn't evolve to the point it does at the end and it's convenient events like this that threaten to ruin what is working. The story is very neatly and meticulously put together, but maybe a bit too well done. An obstacle looming heavy over the whole film is the forest fire slowly eating its way closer and closer to the street that the action takes place on. Having such a backdrop always in mind screams artifice and truthfully does take you out of the movie a bit. Yes, they are in California, but instead of introducing the fire so early on, (I believe it's the first thing we hear on Jackson's alarm clock radio), they could have made it a problem with subtlety. We know the dangers of the area and would believe a fire starting; we don't need to be hand-held through the ordeal. Also, there is an underlying duplicity that crops up often. Jackson's partner is living with decisions on whether to try for a promotion and move his family to a safer neighborhood, thus allowing us to find out Abel Turner's similar predicament twenty years earlier. There is also the story of what happened to his wife, a tale whose explanation is revelatory to his feelings towards the Mattsons, I won't say more, but you will see the mirroring for yourself when viewing. When you do look at Lakeview Terrace from afar, you will see some very intriguing instances of race, social status, and other barriers coming to the forefront as catalysts for the strained relationships cropping up. These are the kind of issues you expect LaBute to grasp ahold of and do something inventive and provocative. There are moments, don't get me wrong, but in the end, this is a studio picture and I'm sure his hands were tied just enough to keep it all reined in. However, there is that edge to it, sometimes more pronounced than others, along with a great performance from Jackson, as well as the others. With a fitting conclusion and overall entertaining suspense, I'd say LaBute has found a happy medium between Hollywood-fare and his indie/stage sensibilities. I just hope he goes full indie next time, because that is where he truly excels.

  • Bold concept, uneven results


    Neil LaBute has built his portfolio breathing life into movies and stage plays about dysfunctional individuals (usually men) who have difficulty fitting into relationships and societal norms. His first offering, 1997's In the Company of Men, earned him praise for his stark tale of two misogynist businessmen who conspire to romantically destroy a deaf woman, and is play "Bash: Latter Day Plays" earned him excommunication from the Church of Latter Day Saints for its unflattering portrayal of Mormons. With Lakeview Terrace, LaBute opts for the unconventional exploration of black-on-white and black-on-black prejudice with uneven results. Samuel L. Jackson plays Abel Turner, a veteran Los Angeles cop and single parent struggling to raise his two young kids. Turner's life has been scarred and ruptured by the death of his wife, who was killed in a car accident with her white lover while engaging in an affair – something that understandably has been festering in Turner's craw for some time. When the purchasers of the house next door turn out to be a racially mixed couple, Turner begins transposing his hatred on them as proxies for his wife's transgressions. Initially Turner's intimidating ways seem focused on bullying his new "liberal" neighbors into maintaining decorum and giving his kids a wide berth, but things soon progress into unstable territory as his years of being an alpha male with a gun and a badge begin to get the better of him. With each successful intimidation, Turner becomes emboldened to become a law unto himself. LaBute frames Turner's exploits against the backdrop of an escalating brushfire in the neighboring hills, which serves as metaphor for Turner's growing inner rage that threatens to consume the property and lives of everyone involved. LaBute's execution has all the subtlety of a gun butt to the head, which may actually have been his intention, given how he likely figured the audience would be comprised of escapist, action-seeking types not generally known for reflecting upon humanity's shortcomings. Jackson does everything asked of him as he shows the progression of what at first seems to be a well-intentioned and loving parent, into an unbridled bully. The problem comes in the film's final act as the story culminates in forced cacophony that pushes the boundary of believability over the edge. A small dose of well timed restraint would have transformed this movie from a semi-decent popcorn muncher into a more serious vehicle for reflection on human values and prejudices.


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