Lakeview Terrace

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The ViewWellington Review

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Review byMatthew Turner4/12/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 106 mins

Strong performances ensure that this remains watchable, but it pulls all its potential punches and ends up as a neutered version of the film it should have been.

What's it all about?
Directed by Neil LaBute, Lakeview Terrace stars Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington as Chris and Lisa, a newly married, mixed-race couple who move into their first home in an LA suburb. However, they soon find themselves clashing with their next-door neighbour, Abel Turner (Samuel L Jackson), an LA cop and control freak single dad who clearly disapproves of their relationship.

The Good
That said, Jackson is as good as you'd expect him to be, exuding a creepy blend of charm, sarcasm and menace but lacing it with a hint of delusion that keeps you in suspense because you're never sure quite how far he's prepared to go. Wilson is equally good, particularly in the smaller details, such as his barely concealed boyish glee the first time he turns the tables on Jackson. However, both Washington and Regine Nehy and Jaishon Fisher (as Abel's kids) are badly underused by the script.

The Bad
With its attractively pulpy concept (Imagine you moved next door to Samuel L Jackson...and he hated you!) and director Neil LaBute at the helm, you could be forgiven for expecting Lakeview Terrace to be a dark exploration of racial tensions filtered through a trashy Evil Cop thriller. However, LaBute must be mellowing in his old age, because this is strictly routine and, despite the race angle, there's nothing here that wasn't done better in Unlawful Entry back in 1992.

The main problem is that the script lacks the guts to take the story into the darker places that would have made it genuinely terrifying. As a result, there are several unsatisfying cop-outs along the way (the kids getting sent away, Turner getting a thug to do his dirty work, etc.).

Worth seeing?
Lakeview Terrace delivers a couple of cheap thrills and is never less than watchable, but it's ultimately frustrating because it's all too easy to see how much better it could have been.

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Lakeview Terrace
Lakeview Terrace has been reviewed by 1 users
 
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Content updated: 24/06/2017 20:38

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