Pros:A few exciting moments, Jackson's performance.
Cons:The script. And the direction. But mostly, the script.
The Bottom Line: Sadly, this movie lived up (or is it down) to my expectations.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
I admit it - I went into Lakeview Terrace with a few negative expectations. I expected the story to be fairly formulaic. And, I expected to find at least some reasons to blame the "victims". And sure enough, both predictions came true.
If you've seen the trailers, you know the story. An interracial couple moves into a nice neighborhood, and are very soon picked on, by their nasty, racist, policeman neighbor. Chris and Lisa (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) are the new-comers, and Abel (Samuel L. Jackson) is the mean neighbor. Right away Abel decides he doesn't like this couple. They are - after all - interracial. And Abel doesn't approve. Things get nasty, as neighborly disputes sometimes do, but it's complicated by the fact that Abel's a cop. It's hard to call the police against your neighbor, when he's a cop.
I don't know why I predicted that I'd find reasons to blame the victims, but I did, and I was right. The very first thing that becomes a real problem between the neighbors is the fact that Abel has bright security lights that shine directly in Chris and Lisa's bedroom. Of course, the new homeowners haven't hung any window treatments yet. Now - what would I do in such a situation? I'd hang a sheet over the window until I bought window treatments. What I wouldn't do is ask the neighbors to turn off their lights. Or, maybe I'd mention it one time. Exactly one time. But I wouldn't make a big deal about it.
The next thing that becomes a problem is that the new homeowners decide to "christen" their pool. In a very adult manner. Without bothering to figure out whether their actions could be viewed from the neighbor's house. Let's just say that Abel isn't too happy when his teenage kids witness the "ritual". This is another situation that just wouldn't happen if it were me. I might "christen" the pool - but I'd make darned sure I was in complete privacy, first.
Watching those events, as well as others, where the new owners act in ways completely unrealistic, it was difficult to feel sympathy for them. Yes, of course, the movie changes tone as it moves forward. Abel gets more and more irate and menacing. The blame definitely shifts. But by that time, I disliked Chris and Lisa so much that it was really difficult to care.
At least they attempted to explain why Abel acts and feels as he does. Even though the explanation was pretty lame, I appreciated its inclusion.
Jackson's performance was terrific, as I come to expect from him. Wilson was fine in his role, but I didn't love Washington's performance. She came off as annoying, and shrill.
I predicted the movie would follow a basic formula, and for the most part, I was right. Most of the movie was quite predictable, and felt terribly familiar. Sure, there were a couple of moments toward the end that were exciting and different. But for the most part, you can probably guess 90% of the events in this movie.
Finally, there's the ending. One word: weak. Actions are taken that make very little sense, and go against the way we would expect the characters to act, based upon what we'd seen in the past.
This movie isn't the worst way to spend 100 minutes, but you can definitely take a pass and not feel like you're missing out on anything.
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