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A young couple has just moved into their California dream home when they become the target of their next-door neighbor, who disapproves of their interracial relationship. A stern, single father, this tightly wound LAPD officer has appointed himself the watchdog of the neighborhood. His nightly foot patrols and overly watchful eyes bring comfort to some, but he becomes increasingly harassing to the newlyweds. These persistent intrusions into their lives ultimately turn tragic when the couple decides to fight back.
Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Average The first two-thirds of Lakeview Terrace offer a little more subtlety and complexity than the seemingly straightforward premise would afford, but the climax is loud, dumb, generic, and over-the-top.
Roger EbertFull Review Excellent I think I know who is good and bad or strong and weak in this film. But here's the brilliance of it: I don't know if they do.
USA TodayFull Review Average But while the story might spur discussion on an important subject, the film ends up following a formulaic route. As social commentary, it doesn't go deeply enough, and as a psychological thriller, it peters out in silliness.
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OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 47 moviegoers:Overall, these are disappointing reviews from all ages, both males and females. There were some who loved it but most rated it average to below average, which is not good. Based on these reviews, this is not a movie that I would recommend.
Veteran Los Angeles cop Abel Turner (Jackson) guards his neighborhood with the same zeal he brings to his patrol route. The single father of a teenaged daughter and preteen son, Abel is one-man security force, ensuring that his strict standards of behavior are adhered to, even if it means ruffling a few feathers in the process.
Chris (Patrick Wilson) and Lisa Mattson (Kerry Washington), a progressive and upwardly mobile couple, move in next door to Turner, who disapproves of their interracial marriage. Hoping to rid the neighborhood of anything or anyone he deems "undesirable," Turner launches an escalating series of pranks and insults against the Mattsons. From ignoring their request to focus his high-voltage safety lights away from their bedroom to disrupting a housewarming party, Abel takes full advantage of his police connections to antagonize his new neighbors with impunity, hoping to get them to pick up and move out.
When their air conditioning unit is sabotaged in the middle of a heat wave and their car tires are mysteriously slashed, the Mattsons begin to suspect Abel is behind their troubles. But without proof, they can only try to negotiate a truce—an offer Abel does not accept.
Abel's anger flares when his use of inappropriate force on the job lands him on extended leave and he discovers his daughter has been spending time with Lisa. Devoting himself fulltime to harassing his young neighbors, he raises the stakes by hosting a raucous bachelor party at his house that goes on into the wee hours. With music still blasting at 3:00 am, Chris attempts to reason with Turner in an attempt to get some quiet. But Abel turns the tables on Chris, forcing him into a compromising position with the party strippers that is taped and presented to Lisa.
As Abel crosses the line from annoying neighbor to dangerous adversary, the couple tries to fight back, which only feeds Turner's fury. With the resentment between the neighbors building daily, it's only a matter of time before the situation escalates into a potentially deadly stand off.