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Lakeview Terrace is Samuel L. Jackson at His Mothereffen Best

Published September 18, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Sony Screen Gems
Lakeview Terrace PosterLakeview Terrace
Lakeview Terrace is Samuel L. Jackson at his motherf*ckin' best. He's a really scary bad guy. I must have taken it for granted all these years he's been on our side.

Review: Lakeview Terrace

He's creepy right away in the beginning. Teaching his kids proper etiquette and better role models is a good thing, but it's so unusual it's weird. Then he spies on his new neighbors, leering through the windows. Usually these thrillers have a period where the weirdo is all nice and like the perfect best friend. Not this one.

The creepy events start small. It's about cigarettes or lights, escalating to some broken equipment. Where it gets really fun is when Sam starts setting punks straight. He's not right, but he's so confident he's like the Freddy Kreuger of social issues.

On the job, he's the cop I want. He doesn't take any sh*t. I don't expect him to turn it off when he gets home. He's not dirty, like Vic Mackey, who I also support, just hardcore.

It seems to me like there would be a way to get through to him. It's not to backtalk. He's ready for that. But maybe ask to learn from him, agree with him to push him to prove he's right. He'd have to talk himself out of his own views, because he's just tougher and smarter than anyone who comes at him.

The husband next door is a pretty easy target too. First of all, don't battle this guy. You're just asking for it. You won't beat him at his own game. And he keeps walking into situations that are obviously set up to frame him later.

Some of the conflicts are silly, but then there are other moments where you really think someone might suddenly die, or at least get maimed. It's PG-13 suggestions, because this situation could be a LOT more dangerous, but you get it.

There is some really cliché dialogue. It's fine, it gets to the point, but it could have been more eloquent. We don't really need to hear spouses tell each other they don't recognize each other anymore anymore.

A majority of the early spousal conflict is simply because he didn't let his wife meet the crazy neighbor for herself. Of course he sounds crazy when he's just babbling about unspoken undertones. He could have just let her seen for herself and saved 10-15 minutes of screen time.

Still, I was always curious what kind of climax they would build to. The cop really never threatens their lives, so what will this escalate to? They manage to have it end in a similar way to all thrillers, but it works. The biggest disappointment is that the only two f*cks in the PG-13 movie go to Patrick Wilson.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Sony Screen Gems

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