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Review: Arlington Road (1999)

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Steve Kong

Oct 22, 2000, 10:27:06 PM10/22/00
Arlington Road (1999)
Review by Steve Kong
The Hard Boiled Movie Guide

Arlington Road is a tense and tight thriller that is until it blows itself
to pieces with its ridiculously silly climax.

Until the run for the climax starts, Arlington Road is a wonderful movie
that introduces a lot of ideas about terrorism. The movie follows Michael
Faraday (Jeff Bridges) who is a professor of terrorism at George Washington
University. One day while driving home he saves the life of his new
neighbour's son. The new neighbour Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins) and his wife,
Cheryl (Joan Cusack), are relieved that someone saved their son. Faraday
and Lang become friends, that is until Faraday discovers some funny things
about his new neighbours. He suspects him to be a terrorist bomber. Turn
up the paranoia Fox Mulder! Faraday goes overboard with his paranoia and
during all of this we are unsure whether to believe him or not.

The script is good, actually pretty darn good except for the ending. The
ending will most likely make everyone grumble. I thought it was nice of
the writer (Ehren Kruger) and director (Mark Pellington) to put such a
non-Hollywood ending on, but the events that take place in order to get to
this ending seriously disregard logic the chances of the coincidences that
would have to take place for the ending to happen are slim, very
slim. But, since it is the ending, I'll not ruin it. But, I warned you
ahead of time.

The two major players in the movie, Bridges and Robbins, are great! There
is a scene of confrontation that is absolutely played to perfection. These
two work well onscreen. Joan Cusack also gives a great performance, and it
wasn't even comedic.

The director Mark Pellington does OK with the film. He's another music
video to feature films director and being this he takes along with him a
lot of the music video styles. He does not over use the music video type
editing or styles in Arlington Road, but they are there and some are
overwhelming (the out of focus opening was a good idea). Writer Ehren
Kruger writes a decent script, it's interesting to note that his two next
major projects were Reindeer Games and Scream 3, neither of which are as
good as this decent film Arlington Road. The characters are given good
dialogue and the action is well placed, I just wish he'd thought out the
ending before writing it down.

Rent Arlington Road, it's an interesting watch. Just be sure to turn off
your logic side of your brain when the climax comes rolling onto screen, if
you don't, you'll be sorely disappointed. And if you are looking for a
Hollywood type film, skip this one; the ending might make you grumble.

Steve Kong

not all film critics are the same.
i'm your hard boiled movie guide.

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