T. A. Moreland, HW Fim Editor
Moving into their first home should be very special event for a young couple. But not if you’re Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) and you move next to Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) in Lakeview Terrace. From the start, the Mattsons, a cute and loving interracial couple, feel some tension from their neighbor, Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson).
It’s as clear as black and white that Turner a Los Angeles cop, and single father, just doesn’t like the couple and their lifestyle. What begins with mischief between the Mattsons and Turner accelerates into death.Lakeview Terrace is not a very good movie. After you get past the basic premise that the officer doesn’t like his neighbors, there’s not much to it. You’ll sit there wondering where all of this is going. Neither the characters nor the story are especially interesting. Ultimately it comes across that Chris, a nice white guy, is surrounded by difficult black people. Abel Turner wants to harm him, Lisa’s father (Ron Glass) openly distains him, and even Lisa is dishonest with him.
And I wonder if the issues raised in this film are a bit outdated. The film explains the basis for Turner’s anger at the Mattsons. It’s personal. But Chris speaks of being regularly harassed by black men over his marriage to Lisa. Do people in large cities where interracial dating is common place still act that way? Or are most too busy making a living and dealing with their personal affairs? Even Able’s 15 year old daughter claims in a conversation with Lisa that young black guys praise each other for pulling white girls but criticize black girls for dating white guys. Are the writers putting views from 25 years ago in the mouths of characters born in the 90s? From what I see and what I read, interracial dating is no big deal for teens today.
Samuel L. Jackson is the consummate performer. Whether he’s a good guy (like in Coach Carter), a bad guy (like here) or a sly guy (like in Eve’s Bayou), he’s so credible that you can’t envision anyone else playing the roles. And there are no complaints about Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington. These two are superb, doing the best they can with what they’re given. But the weak link here is an ineffective screenplay. And that causes structural flaws in Lakeview Terrace.
It’s PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and drug references and is 106 minutes in length.
Lakeview Terrace gets a Rent It rating.