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on 5 June 2009
Lets face it, when it comes to plum roles, Samuel L Jackson has not exactly had the pick of them as of late. I mean apart from his turn in Black Snake Moan, he has been pretty much playing caricatures of himself in movies such as the terrible Snakes on a Plane, and even worse, the Spirit. So it comes as a welcome change for him to land a role that he can really get his teeth into.
And get his teeth into the role of Abel Turner he does. Turner is an LAPD officer, a single father raising two kids after the death of his wife, who seems a rather uptight and extremely strict disciplinarian. When an apparently successful young mixed race couple Chris (Patrick Wilson) and Lisa (Kerry Washington) move in next door, Turner is offended. This apparently average man has some less than average views, and begins a quiet and very subtle intimidation campaign against them. Thinking himself immune to the law (in one great scene where both we and Chris and Lisa know who broke into their garage and damaged their car, the laughing villain sits on a police car and jokes with his cop buddies) Abel begins jabbing at Chris with his slightly passive but soon very aggressive racial views, something that soon becomes impossible for the couple to ignore.
You are probably thinking you have seen this kind of thing before, what with such home invasion thrillers as Unlawful Entry and Pacific Heights, but what lifts this movie above its more obvious relatives is both Jackson's performance and the subtle way the film subverts your expectations. Jackson gives Abel Turner a believability and a depth of character that makes him into something more than a mere hate filled racist. Abel is apparently charming and well liked by the rest of the neighbourhood, a respected cop and a father of two, who's racist asides seem at first shocking but not threatening. Even when the racism turns obvious and ugly, Turners clever way of throwing his victims of the scent by defusing the situation with apologies and contrition makes him all the more threatening. And whilst there is no doubt that he is the monster of the film, Jackson manages to make him both sad and tragic, as well as maybe even a little sympathetic. On top of this his racism is not simply generated by hate (although that does come into this poisonous mix), but as far as Turner is concerned he has a very good reason for his views, and when we learn this fact late on in the film, it does not excuse his actions, but does make them a lot more believable.
The film also plays with our expectations in several neat ways. Whilst Chris and Lisa are the victims of Turners racist abuse, Turner sees himself as the victim (Chris and Lisa have invaded his territory, they break his rules), and the film plays on this to good effect (in particular in one squirm inducing scene when Chris and Lisa have a party and invite Turner over, only to have him turn on their friends and berate them for their casual and thoughtless racism and liberal attitudes). Whilst several obvious mainstays of this kind of movie are used, such as the gradually escalating tension, the apparent immunity of the aggressor to the law, and so on, none of it feels forced, and the tension builds nicely. Director Neil LaBute handles the film well, painting a picture of middle class suburban tranquillity, and then slowly destroying the peaceful scene he has created with a deft touch. This is a small, personal film tackling a very big issue, and it tackles it extremely well.
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on 6 April 2011
Samuel L.Jackson has played some really nice people in his acting career and he's played a few bad ones and in Lakeview Terrace, although he's playing the single-parent father of two young children, teenaged daughter Celia and a younger son Markus AND he's a uniformed cop he's an absolute ar...le both to them and to his new neighbours played by the pretty Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson.
He doesn't approve of his son wearing a 'T' shirt with "the wrong name" emblazoned on it so his son has to change it, he doesn't approve of his daughter listening to her walkman at the breakfast table so that has to stop, he doesn't approve of the fact that one of the new neighbours is Afro-American(Washington) and Wilson is White therefore the marriage is 'racially-mixed'.He doesn't approve of his new neighbours 'canoodling' in their pool, in their garden as his kids can see them kissing? He doesn't approve of Celia going for a swim in the neighbours pool without asking him and gives her a slap for disobedience and answering him back.He makes their lives and those of everyone who don't conform to HIS beliefs and HIS way of doing things HELL until finally we reach the straw that breaks the camels back and all hell is let loose in Lakeview Terrace?
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on 28 February 2013
I like Samuel L. Jackson and this film did not disappoint. Steering away from the usual white on black racist storyline, it was refreshing to see a black policeman, supposedly law abiding allowing racist views to take over his personal life when his new neighbours, a white man married to a black woman moved in. The shocking comment made by Jackson who was in his front garden to his new neighbour arriving home in his car with rap music playing on the car radio of "you can listen to that stuff all night but it won't make you black!", was sinister to say the least and gave you an insight into his very warped mind. Although little on action, the underlying hatred on the part of Jackson towards his neighbour and his wife and the tactics Jackson uses to try to drive them out, had you wondering what would be the ultimate climax of this story. It kept the viewer interested until the climax at the end. Not the usual kind of film to find Jackson in but it did not take away his performance as an actor able to hold its audience. Very much worth watching.
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on 23 May 2011
Samuel L. Jackson gives one of his best performances ever, in this dark psychological thriller.
A couple move into a new home, and are soon terrorized by their new neighbour, who has a thing about mixed race couples, who just happens to be a cop, who believes he is above the law. SLJ normally plays likeable characters, not always the good guy, but likeable. But in this movie, it shows he is not typecast and you begin to dislike the character, which is a total role reversal for him.
You get drawn into the film, as the plot develops, and begin to wonder how its gonna end. It has some characterisation, which is rare in films today.
The picture quality on this blu ray is outstanding, with good black levels, and although the sound won't test your system too much, its there when needed, with good separation to the rears.

Just hope your new next door neighbour isn't a cop....
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It took a while to warm up,but builds up into a thrilling climax,in a movie about an L.a cop who is a law to himself.samual Jackson what can you say,well I havent seen him in a bad movie yet.he was at his very best here,with a strong cast, as a menacing thorn in the side to a couple just moving in next door.As the film builds you see he is hell bent on giving these people a torid time,you can imagine this really happening.even his 2 kids whom he is over strict with dont seem to like him much.All in all a really good watch.at a really good price,so go buy it , will not disapoint.
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on 9 October 2016
Totally gripping film had me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Samuel L Jackson played a very convincing role as a nightmare neighbour. Excellent performance from him and all the other actors. Highly recommended. 5 stars.
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on 14 February 2011
This film was very different in that it approached racism from a totally different angle and really showed how experiences can totally distort our judgement and treatment of others. The film also portrayed the real issues that can face mixed relationships and whe a father has been left o raise children alone. Whilst no answers were provided the film gave plenty of provided food for thought. Generally the film was watchable but was not in the league of 'Pacific Heights'.
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on 9 June 2017
Very good thriller, worth watching.
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on 24 October 2016
Love this film. Samuel L Jackson is fantastic in it. Well worth buying.
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on 4 November 2017
Who doesn't like Samual J ? He is always v good the film lacks a little suspense but the male leads are excellent
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