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Lakeview Terrace
This “neighbor-from-hell bender” stars Samuel L. Jackson as a bitterly racist policeman who terrorizes the interracial couple living next door.
L

akeview Terrace
Directed by Neil LaBute
(PG-13)

An angry ex–police officer harasses an interracial couple living next door.

**

No one walks into a Neil LaBute film expecting a good time, said Sura Wood in the Hollywood Reporter. True to form, Lakeview Terrace is a downer. This “neighbor-from-hell bender” stars Samuel L. Jackson as a bitterly racist policeman who terrorizes the interracial couple living next door. Screenwriters David Loughery and Howard Korder give the film a “novel twist” by making the bigot a black man. But by structuring this story of race relations as a thriller, director LaBute forfeits some topical potential. Lakeview Terrace may be “marketed as a run-of-the-mill psycho-cop romp,” said Scott Foundas in The Village Voice. But LaBute takes his “predictable premise” and plots “a stealth attack on the audience’s sensibilities.” By forcing movie­goers to explore their own prejudices, Lakeview Terrace becomes “one of those rare American movies about race in which things are shades of gray.” Too bad LaBute lacks the curiosity to explore those ambiguities, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. He prefers to lob provocations, but LaBute’s “supposed insights into race and class are so wrongheaded” that you’ll walk away more irritated than enlightened.

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