johnlink ranks LAKEVIEW TERRACE (2008)

I’m always up for some Samuel L. Jackson. Especially when he plays a cop. I like the parts where he raises his voice slowly, pauses, then keeps going, until… He’s… YELLING! Kidding aside, this seemed like a decent thriller ripe with some social context layered in with the standard cheap thrills.

I watched LAKEVIEW TERRACE (2008) on 8.4.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

The biggest problem this movie has is that it can’t decide what it is. Not enough twisting or suspense to be a true thriller. I’m fine with that, because the movie builds enough tension in the character relationships. Things are progressing fine until the last five minutes of the film, when it reverts to standard-issue thriller, and ruins all the good-will it spends the entire film building. This is one of those movies where I wonder what the original script intended the ending to be. Because I would bet a good deal of money on the fact that this is a producer-edited ending.

Patrick Wilson (recently the villain in A-TEAM) plays husband to Kerry Washington (who I recognize from several films, but who hasn’t had a landmark role). They are an interracial couple who buy a dream home (oh, sorry… this is supposed to be a starter home) in a beautiful neighborhood in an LA suburb. The only problem is that Samuel L. is their neighbor. He’s a cop. And a racist. In a compelling scene in a bar, well into the film, he explains why he is the way he is. Not bad, but also not enough to explain his actions top-to-bottom.

The racial tension in here is well toned, though. I like that this movie goes there, with the white guy being the one uncomfortable with the black cop and the rich black father judging him. It doesn’t treat these themes lightly, but it also doesn’t bash you over and over again with them. I thought the director, Neil LaBute, set a really nice tone with that, as well as with the husband-wife family starting issues (even if that storyline borders on cliche at times). These successes are why I have such a hard time with the ending. So simply silly. It does nothing for the film at all.

I guess I’m glad I saw this in the end. There was some solid work here. But it just goes to show how easy it is to ruin a decent thing.





~ by johnlink00 on August 5, 2010.

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