Ok so he’s not actually dead. His creativity on the other hand, has been dead for some time.
LaBute’s latest film, LAKEVIEW TERRACE opens soon. Here is the trailer. Try to get past the 1:20 mark without laughing. There’s nothing like exploiting racism while setting the proceedings to gangster rap music.
Neil LaBute’s career started off so promising. A playwright at heart, LaBute burst onto the scene with IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, an unblinking social satire about the American workplace and the machismo slimeballs who occupy it. It was the debut of a confident and daring artist. That film is DARK, featuring a character as evil as any I’ve seen in movies. His follow up was an even more mature work, YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS which took the investigation into the dark recesses of the human condition a bit further (in addition to having the greatest sauna confession in the history of film).
Then LaBute’s career took an unfortunate turn. He followed up with NURSE BETTY, a decent but inconsistent effort. Then came THE SHAPE OF THINGS, which was a complete retread of his earlier work. Then of course, this happened:
THE WICKER MAN was a tandem nosedive for both LaBute and Nicolas Cage. It was the precursor for BANGKOK DANGEROUS and Cage’s ridiculous mullet/leather jacket combo.
So on this Thursday night when young professionals gather into bars to get started on the weekend celebration a bit early, raise your glasses and pour out a little Olde English for a once great filmmaker who fizzled out. We’ll remember him for the good times.