Guest Author - Jamise Grace Liddell
Movie Reviewed: Lakeview Terrace
Directed By: Neil LaBute
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, Kerry Washington
Rated: Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, violence, sexuality, language and some drug references.
Runtime: 110 min
Studio: Overbrook Entertainment
Article Edited by: Linara Washington
Issues of race are ever prevalent in these difficult economic and political times. Separatists prefer that each racial group remain "with their own kind," but that kind of racist thinking does nothing for human relations in our society.
Lakeview Terrace, named after the area where Rodney King was beaten by the LAPD in 1991, is a great discussion film. It is an excellent cinematic vehicle, which examines at least one aspect of interracial relationships. Jackson's depiction of Able Turner, a Los Angeles police officer who exhibits a “go back to where you came from” mentality, represents Americans of all races, creeds and colors; tolerant of racial diversity at church, on the job, and in the neighborhood, but not welcoming of it in the family proper. Able is relentless in his assault on people, especially if he does not think they should be together. "But you can't tell them that, right?" Able questions Chris.
Turner is no "peace officer" especially when it comes to his new neighbors, who happen to be an interracial couple. First time home-owners Chris (Patrick Wilson) and Lisa Mattson (Kerry Washington) are excited to move into their first home. Turner welcomes the couple into the neighborhood with a basic message--- "move."
Not getting the message, the couple initially tries to extend the hand of friendship, but Turner thwarts every neighborly effort. Turner’s passive- aggressive, naughty neighbor ploys include slashing tires, flashing floodlights into the neighbor's bedroom and other attack's on the neighbors' psyche. At one point Turner, says to Chris Mattson, "You can play rap music all you want, but when you wake up in the morning you'll still be white."
In addition to Able, Lisa’s father fights Chris, because he, too, disapproves of his daughter's marital choice. Chris feels judged by the world for marrying a black woman. And like any other marriage, the couple has marital problems that have little to do with race, and more to do with communication.
Society's expectations and influence coupled with one man's personal vendetta reeks of perfect timing for the election climate. America is such an ever-evolving melting pot, one wonders, are issues such as these still a concern?
Jackson is almost scary as Turner and gives an awesome performance. In addition to all of the police action, jewels in this film are the myriad discussion topics, racial differences, interracial marriages, workplace anger, bad neighbors and the issues of race relations in America.