Mind-numbing entertainment

There will be no Oscar buzz around this fall’s Lakeview Terrace, a predictable little tale of good vs. evil, with good winning in the end. It didn’t appear that it was looking for awards, though. It plays like it’s very aware that it’s nothing more than entertaining mush with no nutritional value.† Although it is at it’s core a brainless story it is also a very watchable movie.

Lakeview Terrace is a thriller with a social agenda that is full of cliché silliness- but to give credit where it is due- well made silliness.† The always-effective Samuel L. Jackson stars as a widower cop who is opposed to a mixed-race couple that lives next door and tries to force them to move, using intimidation and vandalism.

This could be campy and self-righteous, but let’s face it, is there anyone more intimidating than Samuel L. Jackson? He plays a poorly written character with such professionalism that we can almost believe the mental devolution that takes place. Patrick Wilson plays the husband of the young couple. He is a very interesting actor, who has yet to be in a movie that really showcases his talents, but he is on the top of his game in this movie. He plays his role as honest as possible, a loving husband who is just put in a sticky situation.

The dynamic between Wilson and Jackson make the movie entertaining. They often have moments were the talk sternly and stand very close and those are the moments that make the movie. They’re so well acted and well directed that they almost seem realistic if the words being spoken weren’t so absurd. The uneasiness from the screen makes you squirm and it feels like if you touch the screen you would be part of the conflict.

It is so tense that you get angry with the lack of understanding in Samuel L. Jackson’s menacing eyes. You also get frustrated as to why the couple didn’t move after the third or fourth confrontation. The movie’s end was not only foreseeable but totally over the top. The film was full of contradictions and is really hard to tell what it is we’re supposed to get out of it.

Whatever the case, the autumn season always seems to be the time of year when you most need an escape from the world. Lakeview Terrace gives your brain that escape it needs in a total superficial, unsettling and predictable spoonful of Hollywood summer leftovers.