This is a bit of an odd film, it starts of well enough and you get a feel for where it seems to be headed. Come the third act it is an entirely different film and it went in the wrong direction entirely. This was Neil LaBute’s film effort after the epic fail that was The Wicker Man remake. I could see he was aiming for something much different and more serious with something to say considering the themes presented. However by the third act as I said it goes in the wrong direction and everything that had been done so well in the first and second acts got undone. The main theme of this film is racism, this comes from LAPD Officer Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) as he seems to dislike the interracial couple Chris and Lisa Mattson (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) who have moved in next door.
On the positive side our three main leads give rather solid performances, Samuel L. Jackson plays a bit of a different character then usual. Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington play a credible couple, they seem innocent enough and play that to their strengths. Each actor has a fair amount of chemistry with each other, the back and forth between Wilson and Jackson gets more and more awkward each time we see them, which works well. The overall story just seems perhaps a little dated for this day and age, and when the motive behind certain feelings gets revealed it just seems lazy and not all that credible. These people are nothing but nice and considerate to this man, and he treats them so badly. You know there is something pushing him to feel this way, it really should have been something much stronger to justify his actions, at least to an extent.
The direction by LaBute is solid for the most part, the third act does fail him. Major problem there is the script, going in such an unnecessary and even silly direction, I felt he struggled to get this all across seriously . Pacing was all over the place, at times I felt it dragged a little and probably could have cut out a good 5 to 10 minutes to tighten the film up. This film I think would have worked so much better in the 80’s, it really does not seem to fit the present all that much. I don’t doubt that there are those people out there who would be bothered by the things that Jackson’s character is bothered by, but would they really go to those extreme’s to deal with the issue? I mean this is a fair effort and not a bad film, I did like it for the most part. Unfortunately we tend to remember films by their ending and when you get such a terrible one it leaves a lasting impression.