Written by Hombre Divertido
Too Much To Look At From Lakeview Terrace.
Samuel Jackson plays a high-strung police officer raising two children on his own. Jackson's daughter played by Regine Nehy is rebellious towards her strict yet uneven father. An interracial couple played by Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington, who have numerous issues within their marriage, move in next door and fail to react to the situation as most normal people would have. As the numerous stories progress the neighborhood is slowly threatened by Southern California wildfires.
For the most part the performances are acceptable yet one-dimensional with the exception of the miscast Wilson whose uneven performance is extremely distracting. Jackson's performance is intriguing but the material prohibits this fine thespian from truly hitting his stride.
The previews of this film are reminiscent of the Ray Liotta/Kurt Russell vehicle Unlawful Entry but Lakeview Terrace is not that good simply because it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Had the story focused on the power of police office against the civilian neighbor, and allowed the protagonist/antagonist relationship to develop, a good film might have been the result. Unfortunately there is too much left unexplored on Lakeview Terrace.
Some interesting moments are certainly presented only to be too rapidly pushed aside by distracting sub-plots. Director Neil LaBute seems to possess a good sense of how to create tension, but the script by David Loughery and Howard Korder fails him.
If you look hard you can see the attempts to make statements about racial relations, stereotypes, and there are many metaphors floating about, all of which are ruined by the standard mechanics utilized to create excitement, ruining that which could have added true depth.
Recommendation: Listed at one hour and forty-six minutes, this film seems much longer. Fans of Samuel Jackson will enjoy his performance, but the unexplored plots and limited performances make this a rental at best.