lakeviewterracebluRacial films either tend to leave the viewer with a distasteful feeling or hit home by the end. Director Neil LaBute and David Loughery and Howard Korder do a complete turn around on this racial themed film. In many ways it is refreshing that they were able to make all the pieces come together so this doesn’t feel like just another racial film.

Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) is a police office for the LAPD. Turner also has two younger children, with no wife that passed away several years ago. He is the type of person that loves reinforcement of rules as we see unfold during the film with his children and how he treats others. He tries to raise his kids by himself the best that he can due without a wife. There are times when his buttons are pushed making him the complete opposite of what he make himself look like in front of others. It almost feels like a modern day Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. When he gets a new set of neighbors next door, it sends him off of the deep end for good.

Chris (Patrick Wilson) and Lisa (Kerry Washington) having just recently tied the not have moved next door to Abel. It strikes a cord with Abel as he sees this interracial couple move in next door to him. This ends up bring out his true colors as we shortly find out. Abel is a well respected police officer with the LAPD, the community he lives in and protects. While the couple has to deal with interracial problems in their relationship, they also have a racist living next door to them. Abel will make their lives a living hell, yet Chris ends up receiving the brunt end of the deal.

Then add Lisa’s dad Harold (Ron Glass) that continues to pry on the couple and pestering Chris about children. Chris is getting it from all corners of the spectrum as he is building up all this pressure. Things start to get heated with Abel once he doesn’t stop badgering and abusing Chris. Chris begins to just avoid the situation as things just are becoming too much for him as he protects Lisa.

There were plenty of times where I felt bad for Samuel Jackson’s character and this is something that some may never realize while viewing the film. He explains a lot of the issues he had growing and during the time he had a full family structure in place to Javier (Jay Hernandez) his partner. We learn that he did everything possible so he could get his family out of South Central, LA where it is the pits. He did just that, but then his wife went and passed away leaving another hole in his heart.

Jackson is the glue that holds this film together and I do not think another actor could have done any better as Abel. The film does have several issues with its story and how Jackson is portrayed with the addition of this sympathetic piece added in. The rest of the cast does a good job with their characters keeping the film interesting and at a steady pace. Jackson’s performance here is worth the price of admission alone.
Movie Content: 4/5

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Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 codec with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This is one of those films that will make you happy being an early adopter of Blu-ray. From the colors to the details, your jaw will drop if you look for some of the superb details. Colors are vibrant providing an excellent looking picture. Flesh tones are natural and accurate looking. Blacks look inky. Details are where this film shines the most with the camera even panning away in many scenes. Not once did I feel like I was at a loss for details making this a very strong presentation.
Video Quality: 4.5/5

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. Sony engineers do yet another bang up job with the audio here in ‘Lakeview Terrace’. Their engineers provided some wonderful soundscapes in 2008 with various Blu-ray releases. This is a very atmospheric and immersive sounding film. The rears provide quite a few times where sound effects panned across the speakers. There are many scenes that are outside which also take advantage of the soundfield providing some dynamic sound. Dialogue is clean through the center sounding ever so crisp.
Audio Quality: 4.5/5

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Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with LaBute and Samuel L. Jackson
  • 8 Deleted Scenes (13:49)
  • “Welcome to Lakeview Terrace” [HD]
  • “An Open House” (5:46)
  • “Meet Your Neighbors” (6:32)
  • “Home Sweet Home” (6:39)
  • Trailer for ‘The Passengers’ [HD]
  • BD-Live

Special Features: 4/5

Final Thoughts

‘Lakeview Terrace’ is a film that should not be ignored and I do highly recommend it as a rental. While the story does have a few small issues, Samuel L. Jackson really shines in his role as Abel. Both the video and audio are superb providing a very surprising experience.
Overall Rating: 4/5 (Rental)