Everybody needs good neighbours…
When husband and wife Chris (Wilson) and Jill (Washington) move into Lakeview Terrace they think they’ve found their dream job. But that’s before they’ve met their new neighbour, cop Abel Turner (Jackson) – a single father whose strict moral code has veered into dangerous obsession following the death of his wife three years previously. Abel makes it clear he does not approve of Chris and Jill’s inter-racial relationship, and the couple are soon engaged in a battle of wills thatquickly, and violently, gets out of hand.
As LaBute plays out this explosive tale of race relations against the backdrop of rampaging Californian wildfires, it’s obvious he’s trying to make a point about the continuing problem of racism – from whatever angle – in modern American society, and particularly in the hotbed of LA. Unfortunately, however, it’s difficult to take the issue seriously when it’s personified by Jackson’s maniacal, pantomime villain, whose increasingly outlandish attempts to oust Chris and Jill descend into the farcical. And the louder Lakeview Terrace shouts about racial tension, the less seriously one can take it.
The film shouldn’t be written off completely, though. As a straightforward thriller it’s not all that bad, with Jackson clearly relishing the off-the-wall intensity of his character as well as giving us glimpses of the loneliness and vulnerability that fuels his passionate rage. Despite his performance, however, the film buckles under the weight of its lofty themes. 3 stars
Both the DVD and Blu-Ray contain an enthusiastic director and cast commentary, and there’s also deleted scenes plus three behind the scenes featurette. 3 stars
Stars Samuel L Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington
Director Neil LaBute
Distributor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Format DVD and Blu-Ray
Released March 30th