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  Publicity Stills of
"Lakeview Terrace"
(Courtesy of Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Thriller
Director: Neil LaBute
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington, Eva La Rue, Bitsie Tulloch
RunTime: 1 hr 51 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG (Violence and Some Sexual References)
Official Website: http://www.lakeviewterracemovie.com/

Opening Day: 30 October 2008


In "Lakeview Terrace," a young couple (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) has just moved into their California dream home when they become the target of their next-door neighbor, who disapproves of their interracial relationship. A stern, single father, this tightly wound LAPD officer (Samuel L. Jackson) has appointed himself the watchdog of the neighborhood. His nightly foot patrols and overly watchful eyes bring comfort to some, but he becomes increasingly harassing to the newlyweds. These persistent intrusions into their lives ultimately turn tragic when the couple decides to fight back.

Movie Review:

While most of us who live in humble HDB flats dream about staying in a nice lakeside terrace where the view is gorgeously breathtaking, you may want to stay put in your modest apartment. That is, after seeing how a couple gets a rude chock from their neighbour from hell after moving into a nice and spacey house in California. Trust us; the lovely swimming pool doesn’t even help to justify the torment they had to go through.

Patrick Wilson (Evening, Little Children) and Kerry Washington (The Last King of Scotland, Ray) play an interracial couple who moves into their new home, complete with a nice view and lots of space for their romantic rendezvous. But their next door neighbour played by a menacingly cold Samuel L. Jackson (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Jumper) disapproves of this couple’s presence. Why? Because the newlyweds are an interracial couple. Just because he is a cop doesn’t mean that he is a nice neighbour, because the unfortunate couple will find out that he will stop at nothing to drive them out of the neighbourhood.

While this isn’t the most conventional plot we’ve heard of in a while, things are not as intense as we hope them to be. In fact, things get rather ridiculous and ludicrous as the movie develops its story in its 111 minute runtime.

We get introduced to Jackson’s character, who is a single father who is still grieving the loss of his wife. He is the type of father who demands things to be prim and proper with his children. Similarly, neighbour should know better than to mess with him because you don’t want to piss him off. Then we have Wilson and Washington’s characters who want nothing more than a blessed married life at Lakeview Terrace. The two sides clash, and while there is some decent tension buildup at the beginning of the movie, the enmity soon becomes plain petty and inconsequential as the movie treads along. And when the picture reaches a supposed climax which involves guns and blood, you just wish things can be a little more sophisticated than resolving the issue with violence.

Director Neil LaBute (The Wicker Man, Nurse Betty) could have used this story as an opportunity to raise discussions and questions about racism and conflicts, but the potential chance eventually becomes a conventional drama thriller with nothing new or exciting to offer.

Thankfully, we have the cast’s sold performance to rely on at the end of the day. The acclaimed Jackson delivers his stuff with looming and intimidating presence. Are those daggers we see in his eyes whenever he throws an ominous glare at the happily married couple? Wilson exudes his manly charm by protecting his wife, while Washington portrays her terrorized role with believable fear and anxiety.

There are also some moments in the movie that are wittily and hilariously played out. One memorable scene sees Wilson playing R & B music in his car stereo, possibly as an attempt to understand the black culture better. It’s high time we make an effort to really understand our friends and colleagues with different cultural backgrounds, regardless of whether they live in a big terrace house, or for that matter, a four room, five room or executive HDB flat.

Movie Rating:

(The powerful performances from the cast saves the movie from being another mediocre drama thriller)

Review by John Li


. Jumper (2008)

. Disturbia (2007)

. The Wicker Man (2006)

. Snakes On A Plane (2006)

. Little Children (2006)

. Black Snake Moan (2006)

. XXX2: The Next Level (2005)

. The Cleaner DVD (2007)


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