“You guys are lucky, you have a cop living next door.”
Samuel L. Jackson plays a black LAPD cop called Abel. Lisa and Chris, played by Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson, are a newlywed interracial couple who move into the house next door to Abel and his two children.
It is immediately clear that Abel has a problem with their relationship when he makes a directly aggressive comment to Chris about white men listening to rap music never being able to make him any blacker. And so the torment begins.
I personally like the juxtaposition of character profile scenes for Abel: Abel as the caring father or the cop looking out for his neighbours, with the scenes of his character ruthlessly antagonising Chris for his reasons for being with a woman of colour, or wordlessly threatening Lisa to the point where she vomits in fear. This for me is where the tension really lies. Abel is a wound up character, so much so that you don’t even have to see him on screen to feel his presence.
The metaphor of the California wildfire is also a brilliant foreshadowing of the true danger to come from Abel’s character. Furthermore, this is not the only foreshadowing element to the plot which is what makes it so clever.
On the other hand, in the middle of the second act, it all does become slightly ludicrous and the plot unfortunately does begin to unravel; I did begin to wonder of this social allegory was being dragged a little too far for the minutes. Perhaps this is statement towards the taboo subject of interracial relationships, and more so the fact that in this day and age it is ludicrous that it is still an issue?
Overall, I still think that I took a right turn: as somebody who is in an interracial relationship myself, I think that it is important for Hollywood to tackle these issues. Furthermore, I think it’s important to give credit here, because the racism was coming from the “other side” which is extremely common here on the outside however very rarely seen on film.