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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

5 reasons I’m psyched for ‘Lakeview Terrace’

All this week! 5 movies I’m psyched for in September, and 5 reasons why. No. 3: Lakeview Terrace [opens wide September 19].
1. The story: An interracial couple — he’s white, she’s black — get harrassed by their neighbor, a cop who happens to be black, disapproves of their relationship, and — oh, yeah — has set himself up as the guardian of their “nice” suburban neighborhood. How many hot buttons does this press? Racism is the least of it: abusive police power and the tyranny of gated communities are the bigger issues here, under which racism is subsumed (or so it seems) as just one aspect of enforced conformity and fear of The Other.

2. Director Neil LaBute. I’m gonna pretend his horrendous remake of The Wicker Man never happened and remind myself that he gave us the glorious weirdness that is Nurse Betty, the wonderful romance of Possession, and the disturbingly mundane evil of In the Company of Men.

3. Patrick Wilson, as the husband. If this guy isn’t a huge star after this movie, his highest-profile role yet, well, then it’ll probably happen after Watchmen, in which he’ll play the Batman-esque Nite Owl. Mostly known (and acclaimed) as a stage actor, he blew me away with his complicated portrayal of a vaguely pedophiliac creep in Hard Candy, and then again as a romantic confused architect in Life in Flight (which I saw at Tribeca this spring and still need to write about).

4. Kerry Washington, as the wife, and also on the verge, like Wilson, of well-deserved stardom. The Last King of Scotland, The Dead Girl, and a slew of roles in a ton of good, bad, and mediocre movies… but she’s always riveting.

5. Samuel L. Jackson, as the cop. He made me include him on this list, and I was too scared not to. No, seriously: he’s Samuel L. Jackson. That’s all we need to know.

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