PG-13 for intense thematic material, violence, sexuality, language, and some drug references.
Sept. 19, 2008
Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington, and Jay Hernandez
Sony Pictures Releasing
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By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Senior Producer
- Lakeview Terrace is not the nail-biting thriller that it could have been, but it offers enough suspense to keep viewers entertained.
The film begins as a young interracial couple moves into their dream home in California. They quickly find themselves in a feud with their next-door neighbor, a police officer who does not approve of their relationship.
Samuel L. Jackson stars as Able Turner, the racist, tough guy next door, who is attempting to raise his young son and rebellious teenage daughter on his own. Turner is depicted as a religious, caring father with conservative values, but his true colors quickly come through as he hassles his new neighbors.
The feud begins with Turner inflicting slight annoyances, bright lights that keep the neighbors up at night and off-hand comments about the couple not being welcome in the neighborhood. “Not everybody here is someone you’d choose to live next to,” Able warns his new neighbors. When he finds that his subtle hints have not persuaded the couple to move, the battle quickly escalates.
Because Turner is a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, the couple feels that they have nowhere to turn; their neighbor seems to be above the law. The stress of dealing with Turner’s antics begins to take a toll on the couple’s marriage, and eventually they feel they have no option except to fight back.
The pace of the film slows somewhat in the middle and seems to drag on longer than it needs to. However, the action picks up at the end and builds to a satisfying conclusion that is well worth waiting for.
Every character in this movie is well cast. Jackson shines in his performance as the film’s villain. At times he is a frightening embodiment of evil, while at other times he comes across as troubled, vulnerable, and sometimes even a little likable. Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington also excel in their roles as Chris and Lisa Mattson.
The film does include some violence, sexual references, and profanity. Though the violence is not graphic, it could be too much for young viewers.
The issue of racism takes center stage as the film’s overarching theme, but there is another beneficial lesson to be learned here. The film offers a profound statement on the damaging effects that anger and bitterness can have in one’s life.
Scripture warns us to not let anger fester because it allows the devil to establish “a foothold” in our lives (Ephesians 4:26-28). This film shows why we should heed that warning. Like the not-so-subtle metaphor that the filmmakers employ with footage of California wildfires that are burning out of control throughout the movie, we see that the aftermath of uncontrolled rage can be just as deadly.
Lakeview Terrace is rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, violence, sexuality, language and some drug references.
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