Saturday, April 14, 2018
LAKEVIEW TERRACE (2008)
Directed By: Neil LaBute
Written By: David Loughery & Howard Korder
Story By: David Loughery
Cinematography By: Rogier Stoffers
Editor: Joel Plotch
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Patrick Wilson, Ron Glass, Justin Chambers, Jay Hernandez, Regine Nehy
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.
The plot for this movie is loosely based on real-life events that happened in Altadena, California, involving an interracial couple and an African-American Los Angeles Police Officer.
At first this film seem like it is fine to be a movie more about race and respect. The. All of a sudden it seems to turn into an update of the film UNLAWFUL ENTRY.
Though Samuel L. Jackson’s cop character never seems attracted to Kerry Washington’s, it would have been a good avenues to go down to add to the complexities of the film. As it stands his hatred and obsession with ruining them seemed more random then anything at best.
Though I guess it can be seen as he has a strict set of rules and routine. So when they disrupt it and don’t go by the rules and notices his kids forming a bond with them over him. Which makes them More rebellious. He feels they are a virus spreading into his life and he has to find a way to combat it and exterminate it. At least that seems to be the motivation offered. As his character seems to be fine and upstanding before.
There is no chemistry between Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson as a couple they seem better in their performances when arguing rather than the romantic scenes. She actually has more chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson.
Plus Washington’s character is a bit annoying and over bearing at times. Making it at times for Jackson’s character. As it seems she pushes her husband onto Jackson. So that it feels like the torture of his character is more her fault. Though it would have been hard for Jackson’s character to hang out and bond with her naturally and his torture of her would seem more evil and horrific. If it was based on physical abuse, definitely more hard to hide. Though motivation to not let his daughter end up like her disrespectful and head strong works lightly.
Instead of letting the movie give an equal point of view of both sides of the story and letting the audience decide who to favor offering the audience to think. The film automatically makes him a villain and set up a mystery about the fate of his ex wife.
With these simplistic direction and design I am shocked that the film is directed by Neil Labute. The filmmaker and playwrite who started off with the controversial films IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS and THE SHAPE OF THINGS, As a playwrite his films are often dialogue based, chatty and low key. Though when he started working with bigger stars and more studio material. He seemed to make more bland films such as DEATH AT A FUNERAL. Where as he used to have a definitive voice. One was hoping he would bring to movies like this where it has the potential to, just as he did with his ill-advised remake of THE WICKER MAN.
One can see why he would take this film and how he could bring his vision to the film. That would make it more then run of the mill. As it stands, it feels typical and poor quality with no real vision or style. As the decision was obviously to make entertainment not art. So that It feels like a film that could have been made or directed by anyone fresh from film school.
Though that might not be a fair assessment. As just because a filmmaker comes across as an auteur doesn’t mean you have to hold every piece of their work as such quality. They should be allowed to make purple entertainment and be held to the standards of was to a good film or entertaining not judged necessarily against their other work or it’s artistic value. Especially if they are just there as a director and not necessarily a writer. Some might say.
I really wanted to enjoy the film. Thought it would be a provocative comeback but it’s just bad and worse it just felt like leftovers. Wait for it on tv if you must.
A major disappointment for all involved.