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Arlington Road  

Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges)
Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins)
Cheryl Lang (Joan Cusack)
Brooke Wolfe (Hope Davis)
FBI Agent Witt Carver (Robert Gossett)

Directed by Mark Pellington Written by Ehren Kruger

Rated R for violence and language
Running Time 117 minutes Distributed by Sony Pictures

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Arlington Road is a perplexing movie of paranoia. Michael Faraday (Bridges) is a college history professor who teaches terrorism to somehow compensate his wife's tragic death while working for the FBI. Faraday is left with his young son, Grant, and has a new girlfriend Brooke (Davis). Faraday has new neighbors move in across the street from him, The Langs, Oliver (Robbins), Cheryl (Cusack), and their three children. As the neighbors begin to get know one another, Faraday begins wondering about Oliver so he makes like Sherlock Holmes and discovers that Oliver may be a bomb terrorist. Brooke doubts him and believes he is losing his mind, as does his FBI friend, Whitt Carver (Gossett). Brooke and Whit both conclude that Faraday is involved too deeply in his terrorism class and still suffering from the loss of his wife. There is, however, something about Oliver that will make you wonder about normal people you encounter each day. I am not going to ruin it by telling the whole movie, but trust me, it is good.

The movie does open with a bang and slows itself, but it is important to the development of the characters and their past. The film picks up with a thrust and paces itself to a great climatic ending.

The acting in the film is brilliant. Tim Robbins is dark and eerie as the mysterious neighbor. I am glad to see him back this summer after not being in a film for awhile. Jeff Bridges is just flat-out dynamite. He gives a great performance as a man torn by stress, paranoia, and nothing to lose. In my opinion, this is one of Bridges' best works. Arlington Road is similar to Bridges' 1994 film Blown Away (with Tommy Lee Jones) but is far better.

Arlington Road was supposed to be released on May 14, but it got pushed back to July 9, because of the tragedy dealing with bombs at Columbine High School.

Arlington Road is a good and important film that I believe most audiences will like.

Report Card Grade: B

Beastman's Movie Reviews

Copyright, 1999 Joseph C. Tucker

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