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Arlington Road (DVD)

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  • Good plot
  • Great atmosphere
  • unforgivable
  • So very, very average
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      02.04.2014 16:07
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      A Great Intelligent Thriller

      Just because you're paranoid
      ============================

      Michael Faraday (no relation to the famous scientist) is a college professor whose FBI agent wife got murdered by an extremest group. He has since become obsessed by these groups, so when a new neighbour starts to behave strangely he becomes convinced he is not what he seems. Is he going insane.

      Arlington road is a physiological thriller starring Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins. Two of my favourite actors, and they do no disappoint. Joan Cusak also co-starts as Tim Robbin's wife who seems far too nice and wholesome.

      The film treads the line between Faraday's paranoia and possible reality very well. It doesn't go too far down either road too soon.

      The supporting cast are also very good, especially Spencer Treat Clark as Faraday's son who has really not been having a good time of it.

      The film looks really good and does not use the shacky close ups of many recent films to create tension. It relys on the story to do this. The music is also suitable subdued and under stated that really helps to create a tense atmosphere right from the start.

      I found the ending to be worth the wait, it really does have you going right until the end, gradually increasing the tension over the duration of the film. It is not over long either.

      Summing up, I would say that Arlington road is a smart thriller, good acting and a good story for once combine to make a great film. It's nice that there are not many car chases and special effects here. They have become overused and often unnecessary. I would definitely recommend this film, it's great Saturday night viewing.

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      15.11.2013 21:29
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      A tense and chilling mystery/thriller with a quite surprising ending that wont suit everyone

      - Story -

      A college professor (Michael Faraday) who teaches about home grown terrorists becomes suspicious about a seemingly all-American couple (Oliver and Cheryl Lang) who move in to the same street, after he's discouraged from accessing certain areas of the house and he stumbles on what appears to be a hidden blueprint to an important building. On the outside they seem fine, with their own children becoming friends with his children, they continue their suburban lives as normal while Michael decides to do some investigating into Olivers background - are his suspicions well founded or not? will anyone listen to him or will he purely be dismissed as a paranoid teacher who needs to distance himself from what he teaches? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.


      - Thoughts & Opinions -

      This is a very claustrophobic movie, which confronts some uncomfortable issues/scenes, such as children with firearms and it makes you wonder about who your neighbours may really be, whether any of them have a deep dark past that your unaware of.

      Its quite sinister, with the incidental music featuring quite often and heavily to really deepen the feeling of paranoia, at times to highlight the despair felt by Michael, it really keeps you on edge, with some strings and also heavy drumming elements at times, to make you feel quite unnerved.

      The story moves at a good pace, without too much being discovered right away or it being really long drawn out, the tension builds up gradually and its quite watchable throughout, although you may even have your hands in front of your eyes in one or two instances.

      Joan Cusack I felt was particularly chilling in her portrayal as Oliver's wife, coming across as quite the Stepford Wife, very pleasant and likeable on the outside but also somehow seeming devoid of true emotion inside.

      The movie features a good amount of drama and action with some nail biting chase scenes that kept me guessing. There isn't a great deal of special effects or CGI used, instead this movie relies on the more basic mix of multiple 360 degree camera angles, heavy use of incidental music and slow freeze frames.

      There's quite a big twist at the end of the movie, which I can't say much about without giving it away but I would say that its quite shocking and probably not what you'd expect. It really is quite an unsettling movie that especially at the end seems to be mainly made to put across a message, to make you question those you trust your young children with and who you presume to be 'fine citizens', as it were. This is quite an anti-Hollywood movie in some respects, it wasn't an 'indie' movie as such I don't think but certain details don't match with the usual Hollywood blockbuster type template...in a sense thats quite refreshing though, it does make you think and it isn't very predictable in the way some such movies are.


      - Would I Recommend It? -

      Yes, as a mystery/thriller/drama, its pretty tense and chilling. Its about two hours in length but it didn't really feel like a long drawn out movie, with something new being discovered and the tension rising in pretty much each and every scene.

      Its good to have movies which feature plenty of action and visual elements to keep you entertained and others can raise questions and make you perhaps change opinions or think about things you may not otherwise and this movie features I suppose a fair balance of both. Whether you think what happened could really take place is up to you to decide but it does have quite a realistic feel to it, so I suppose in a sense that could be seen as a downside if your someone who is particularly affected by paranoia or taken in by conspiracy theories.

      This is a movie which has the potential to stay with you for some time after seeing it, so it does its job quite well, as it were, so I'd be happy to recommend it to others.

      Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all rates and comments.

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        21.06.2011 12:48
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        my favorite film ever :))

        When i sent my boyfriend to blockbusters with the order something nice and happy i can watch in my pj's, i was not expecting him to come back with what in my opinion is a 'bloke film', nor was i expecting for it to turn out to be one of the best films i've ever watched!
        It tells the story of a single dad bringing up his son alone after his wife is killed, the son befriends the new neighbours son who has recently been in what appears to be a fireworks accident, something is not quite right with the neighbours though....
        Prepare to be happy,sad,excited and shocked at a brilliant ending that left me completely shocked.
        The actors are all brilliant but i think jeff bridges (who i have never been a fan of) plays a brilliant part and you find your self really rooting for him the whole way though the film!
        brilliant!!!

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          26.04.2010 12:47
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          This was a fantastic thriller with some great performances

          Arlington Road was released in 1999 starring Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins and is one of my favourite thrillers of recent times. I have watched it on DVD a few times and watch it again last night when it was on. Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins both do great jobs in their respective roles in this movie. I particularly like Tim Robbins since watching him in the shawshank redemption and I think he's normally pretty good in most of his roles he takes on. In this film Jeff Bridges plays Professor Michael Faraday who is a teacher on terrorism at the local university and Tim Robbins plays the new neighbour who moves in across the street.

          When they move in Tim Robbins and his wife seem like the perfect couple that you could live next to as your neighbours. They have three kids and that's great for Faraday's ten year old to play with.

          Faraday gets to know the Langs and gradually their friendship grows over time. Faraday is a widower and along with his girlfriend Brooke they head over to their neighbour's house for dinner. However, something about Oliver Lang doesn't quite seem right and Faraday starts to have suspicions about him...The more he delves into his life the more things don't add up and he suspects him of terrorist activity.

          Jeff Bridges does a great job of portraying his character and the paranoia that comes with that role. He is extremely convincing and makes things believable. Equally Tim Robbins does a fine job as the villain of the piece and does not reveal his true colours until late on when it's too late.

          There are many twists and turns in the plot and you will have to watch this to see what happens at the end. This is a great thriller that you should definately see as it's full of suspense.

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          12.03.2010 08:56
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          We watched this film on Sky Plus last night so I am just reviewing the film, not the dvd.

          The film was about a family who lived on a road in Washington called Arlington Road. The Man of the family was Michael Faraday and he had a son called Grant. His wife who used to be in the FBI had been killed in service and he now had a girlfriend called Brooke Wolfe.

          At the beginning of the film he is driving home from work and finds a boy walking along the middle of his road. When Michael stops the car and goes to the boy he finds him covered in blood with half his hand blown off so he rushes him to the local hospital but doesnt know his name or anything to help the nurses.

          Then the boys parents turn up and he finds that the family live on the corner opposite his house in Arlington Road.

          After the boy leaves hospital he strikes up a friendship with Michael's son Grant and they become best friends and the boys parents start to ask Michael and Brooke over for dinner. A relationship starts to form between the two families until one day Michael starts to get suspicious of the other family and the plot begins.

          This film was really good, it had such an interesting story to it that you were drawn in to the film all the way through. You were egging on Michael to find out more and to be careful at the same time. The story was exciting and even a bit scary in parts, not as in horror but in a thriller kind of way.

          Jeff Bridges was brilliant in this part, he played the role so well, being just a normal family man but with links back to the FBI through his dead wife. I love the way Jeff can make you feel that he is scared of what is happening to him and his family.

          His girlfriend Brooke was played by Hope Davies and she also played her part well. She was still feeling as though she wasnt quite "in" the family yet as Michael was still always on about his wife all the time.

          The other parents were Oliver Lang and his wife Cheryl. Oliver was played by Tim Robbins and he was really good as the man with more to him than meets the eye. His wife was played by Joan Cusack, and she did a good job as his strange wife.

          If you havent seen this film before I would strongly recommend it if you like suspense thrillers with a bit of mystery about them.

          The film is directed by Mark Pellington and it is rated a 15 in the UK. The film lasts for 117 minutes and it came out in 1999.

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            10.11.2009 10:56
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            well worth a watch

            This is a great 1999 movie directed by Mark Pellington and written by Ehren Kruger.
            Starring great actors Jeff Bridges, Tim Robins and Joan Cusack.

            Michael Farady (Jeff Bridges) is the widowed college proffesor, father to a young son they live in a quiet street (Arlington Road) in the suburbs of Washington D.C.
            Michaels wife an FBI agent was killed in the line of duty whilst attending an Anti Terrorist operation that went wrong, this continues to haunt both Father and son.
            Michael lectures his students about subversive terrorist groups and has found Love with Brooke (Hope Davis).

            When the Lang family move into the street the two families befriend each other the family have 3 young children and both husband and wife Oliver Lang (Robbins) and wife Cheryl (Joan Cusack) are friendly towards him but Micheal soon begins to suspect all is not as it seems with Lang.
            Michael uses his research skills to investigate Lang and even involves his wifes FBI friend Whit Carver (Robert Gossett).
            As the weeks go by he discovers that Lang has changed his name and was involved in a failed pipe bomb attack in his youth.
            All of the alarm bells are ringing but convincing anyone else is not so easy.

            I watched this at 2 o clock this morning and found it gripping with great acting by the whole cast.
            It is tense and dark, and is totaly relevant to our World today.
            With a great surprise ending it will have you on the edge of your seat.
            Seen this a couple of times now but it never fails to draw me in.
            Great movie 117 minutes of pure genius.

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            11.10.2009 20:07
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            Fantastic film which has stood the test of time

            This film seemed to be released to little fanfare and it was only when I was circling the bargain basement bin that I came across this. After turning the case round to read many of the praise worthy quotes from different publications and critics I decided that this would be well worth taking a chance on.

            The plot for this story is essentially that Jeff Bridges plays the part of a teacher on terrorism who is still haunted by his wife dying as a result of a bundled stake out. After driving home from work he sees this kid staggering along in the middle of the road, blood is dripping from his arm profusely and with no time to lose rushes him to the hospital. It at this point where he is introduced to the parents of the boy and indeed his new neighbours.

            We soon learn that his neighbours are not quite what they seem but the real truths are more horrifying than he can ever realise. It is at this point that the film takes you on a wild ride, a journey which begins as a pleasant one but as Michael (Jeff Bridges) becomes more determined to prove that his suspicions about the couple are not the product of a wild imagination, things take a very chilling turn which will result in a truly explosive ending.

            The two main characters - Tim Robbins and Jeff Bridges delivery superb performances which perfectly encapsulate the personalities of the two characters. On the one hand we have the teacher still deeply consumed with both grief and suspicion and dogged determination and on the other Tim Robbins delivers a performance full of gusto and is truly convincing as the cold calculating intelligent individual who hides his real self so convincingly from everyone else.

            The film captures everything you would wish for in a thriller. The plot sounds promising but it is the fantastic acting which sets the stage for the plot to unravel in a very dark suspenseful manner. There are many twists and turns in this film and just when you think you understand the films direction, it then provides yet another surprise.

            The film does not focus on special effects and instead allows you to focus and appreciate what fundamentally should make or break a film and that is the strength of the plot and the quality of the acting performances.

            There are relatively very few films which I like to claim as being my favourites because there is a host of mediocre films. However this is truly one of those films which so deeply engrossing that I felt completely blown out by it. If you have not seen this before then I highly recommend that you do and given it's cheap price at the moment, it would also be excellent christmas present for someone. If you have seen it, then hopefully you will relate to the superlatives which I am giving to this film.

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            08.09.2009 21:33
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            Kept me on the edge of my seat!

            When Michael Faraday returns home one day, he finds a young boy wondering down the middle of the road with his hand bathed in blood. Rushing him to the hospital, Michael saves the boy's life and is later thanked by his parents, the Langs. Michael gets to know Oliver and Cheryl Lang very well after that and they quickly become good friends. However, he soon begins to show concern for Oliver's's interest in his son, and, after some research, he discovers that the man is not who he says he is. More research suggests that Lang, who has some terrorist activities in his past, may still be very much involved in terrorism. Can Faraday work out what it is that Lang is planning and stop him before it is too late?

            Jeff Bridges plays Michael Faraday, in what I think is one of his best roles. Faraday is a University Professor, and lost his FBI wife three years before when she was working on a case. He now has a girlfriend and is trying hard to move ahead with his life, but his nine year old son is still struggling with the loss of his mother. Bridges gives a really good performance as a man still grieving, and desperate at all costs to protect his son from anything and everything. Once Faraday realises that his son may be in danger, he is terrified, and it is here that Bridges really comes into his own. There are some holes in the plot that made me question how Faraday could have behaved in the way he did, but Bridges managed to make it all seem feasible - it was only afterwards that I questioned some of his actions.

            Tim Robbins is also great as Oliver Lang. Robbins is an an actor who interests me. He is clearly a highly talented actor - I particularly rate his performances in Mystic River and The Shawshank Redemption - and yet I never recognise him when I see him in a new film role. I think he just has that 'everyday man' look about him - there is nothing outstanding in the way that he looks. This is an advantage though, because this means that he is judged on his acting and not on his looks - often I think actors are judged on their cuteness rather than on their talent. As Lang, he really does seem to be a pleasant, ordinary man, although as time goes on, his character does change drastically. Again, Robbins handles this very well and really put the fear of God into me.

            I should also mention Joan Cusack, who plays Cheryl Lang. Like Robbins, she is a bit of an 'everyday woman' in that I rarely recognise her to begin with. This isn't one of her best roles, simply because she doesn't have all that much screen-time, and when she does, she acts rather like a Stepford Wife - always smiling and looking like the perfect housewife, wife and mother. However, she did scare me - there was something deeply unsettling about the way that she always looked so bright and breezy.

            As with many thriller action films, there is a tendency to fill the film with as much action as possible, while glossing over salient facts that we need to fully understand what is going on. Faraday's suspicion of Lang, for example, seems grossly over the top, even though it is explained away because Faraday concentrates on terrorism in his job. Then there are a number of coincidences - Faraday's girlfriend's sudden decision to follow Lang, for example, that just seem too good to be true. Nevertheless, I found myself glued to the screen from start to finish - even though I had seen the film before - so the director and actors were most certainly doing something right.

            There is a great feeling of edginess throughout the film and it is never quite clear what is going to happen next. And in fact, there is a real twist in the tale at the end that I'd forgotten about, which left me with a strong feeling that this isn't a film I am going to forget easily. It was released in 1999, which is more or less when I saw it, but I think after the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks, it has a more powerful impact. How many of us really know who is living next door or across the road after all? As we now know, terrorists don't fit into a particular category and they don't have terrorist written all over their faces.

            As far as the cinematography goes, there is little of any value to say. This is very much a character-driven film, so it is just as well that the lead performances are so strong. The action scenes are done well - there is plenty of atmosphere - and it is clear that the film's budget wasn't too basic, but there are no clever camera angles or attempts on the part of director Mark Pellington to do anything but tell the story as competently as possible. That is fine though - he manages to create exactly the right sort of atmosphere for such a film and I appreciated that more than any extraneous visual beauty could have provided. There is a certain amount of violence, and scenes of dead bodies, so it probably isn't appropriate for most children - there is a rating of 15. However, the gore element is kept down, so it isn't anywhere near as bad as it could have been.

            Disappointingly, there are no extras to speak off - just a trailer for the film. I would have liked an insight into the background behind the film, and some interviews with the actors would have been appreciated too.

            I really enjoyed watching this film again. It is a real edge of the seat thriller, something that I rarely find coming out of Hollywood any more. It isn't without its flaws, but the acting is strong enough to cover them up most of the time. If you haven't yet seen it, then you really should - it is a film that is guaranteed to keep you intrigued until the credits roll. Recommended to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

            The DVD is available from play.com for £3.99.

            Classification: 15

            Running time: 117 minutes

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              14.11.2007 12:05
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              Brilliant story where terrorism exists on your street

              Michael Farraday is a recently bereaved widower who is raising his son with only the help of new girlfriend Brooke. He finds himself at logerheads with his son as the boy refuses to accept the new relationship and struggles with the death of his mother. One day Michael discovers his new neighbours son drifting along the road nearly bleeding to death after a firework accident. As he saves the boys life, he is befriended by the boys parents, Oliver and Cheryl Lang. Soon though, Michael starts to suspect that Oliver isn't all that he says he is, as he has blueprints for office buildings which make a lie of Oliver's claims that he designs shopping malls.

              As Michael relates his findings about Oliver to a class he teaches, he becomes more and more convinced that his neighbour is part of some terrorist organisation. And as revelations of Oliver's past arise, he puts questions to Michael about the governments hand in his own wifes death, and whether he should be defending a country where its leaders took no responsibility for the botch job that lead to that fateful day.

              This is a truly disturbing film that begs the valid question of what you would do if terrorism landed on your doorstep. It also poses the idea that terrorism exists in the most unlikely and ordinary of people. Tim Robbins is absolutely superb in his role of Oliver, a man who is clearly sinister from the start. He hides under the fascade of friendly suburbian family man, but as the tale unravels, so then does he to reveal a far more dangerous and manipulative side to himself.

              The earliest scenes where he turns in nature are absolutely frightening and realistic. Joan Cusack is as reliable as ever, playing the equally questionable wife Cheryl. She is at first supportive and sympathetic to Michael as its obvious that he hasn't moved on from the death of his wife. But her veneer also starts to crack as the Lang's motives are revealed.

              Jeff Bridges battles gamely in his role aside a magnificent leading cast. He is sterling as a man on the edge troubled by his grief and his increasingly obvious paranoia. He emotes easily between grief stricken husband, and panic stricken father, never ever faltering. That he is outshone at every turn by Tim Robbins is nothing to get too upset about, because both men easily handle their roles. Its just that Robbins role is the more revealing and more dynamic of the two men. There are other characters who are introduced into the fold, but are ultimately underused or discarded long before requirement. Mason Gamble and Spencer Clark are the sons of the two men, who seem to be integral to the story, but who get little screen time and dialogue as the action gets underway.

              Robert Gossett is also underused for much of the film, and could have been a much tougher ally to the husband of his dead partner. But the biggest crime is possibly the casting of Hope Davis, who seems to only have two expressions in her range. She is the one let down in an otherwise brilliant cast. She could also have been given a much swifter fate, but all in all, her part fits in well to the film, despite her obvious flaws.

              This is a film that is more poignant than ever now that terrorism has hit even closer to home. Its a 2 hour thrilling ride from the moment the opening credits roll to the absolutely unsettling and jaw dropping finale. Aside from a brilliant cast, director Mark Pellington lends credence to a superbly tense script with some graphic photography and a genuinely disturbing resolution. This film reveals that under the friendly cover of suburbia and friendship can lie the most devastating of secrets. It also poses questions off morality when morality requires that you abandon your own grief in favour of doing the right thing.

              A stunning film that delivers from start to finish, and delivers a final punch in the guts to the audience and the characters alike.

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                16.12.2006 18:59

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                film about terrorists

                Arlington Road is a film about domestic terrorism in United States.

                Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) is a history professor. He lives on his own with a 9 years old child, his wife worked for FBI and was killed in a siege.

                Faraday becomes interested in his new neighbours whom he suspects of being terrorists. Faraday's suspcions increase as he uncovers lies told to him by his neigbour. His friends don't believe the wild theories, as Faraday's paranoia increases he nearly goes insane.

                This will be remembered for great twist at the end. Some of the stuff told in the film could be believed as the truth because government agencies do this kind of stuff in the USA.

                Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack play possible terrorist couple living next door.

                Arlington Road is a conspiracy film that is probably remembered whenever a terrorist attack happens in America.

                I liked the film first time I watched it, second time watched it last week and it looked rubbish.

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                01.12.2006 14:54
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                Intriguing and well-acted thriller

                What do you do if you believe that the man living next door to you is a terrorist? He claims that those blueprints on his desk relate to a legitimate project that he is working on, but you suspect otherwise. How do you convince the world, your friends and your family that an otherwise normal man is capable of murder on an enormous scale?

                Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) is a college lecturer, running courses in the study of terrorism. His wife, an accomplished FBI agent, has been gunned down in the line of duty, leaving him alone to care for his only child, Grant. Whilst driving home one day, he sees a child behaving strangely in the middle of the road and when he stops to investigate, he finds that the boy has been badly wounded in some kind of accident. The child’s parents turn out to be the couple next door, and embarrassed by his failure to be friendly towards them, Faraday sets about building bridges with the pleasant couple. But his rather suspicious nature very quickly starts to pick up on things. The neighbour, Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins) claims that he is working on a project in a local shopping mall, but Faraday believes that the plans on his table look more like those of an office building. Is it just the case that Faraday is starting to become obsessed or is there a genuinely dark side to his neighbour?

                For some reason, I had it in my mind that Arlington Road was one of those strange David Lynch dramas that would make absolutely no sense from start to finish. I was therefore quite surprised to find that the film was actually a fairly interesting, if not rather frustrating thriller.

                Arlington Road is a film with a point. It is interested solely in the concept of terrorism and although it was made in 1999, it now feels more appropriate than ever. But this film isn’t about terrorism involving extreme Middle Eastern groups. Arlington Road looks at the increasing occurrence of homegrown terrorists, American citizens who take it upon themselves to commit acts of atrocity upon other American citizens for reasons that are often completely unknown.

                Society works on the basis of boundaries, both physically and morally. It works on the basis that no matter how frustrated we get we will generally stick within those boundaries. Terrorism occurs when people are no longer prepared to do this as a result of the way that they have been treated. But one of the strangest things for the average man to struggle with is to understand how seemingly normal people are driven to commit acts of terrorism. This is clearly something that interested the creative team behind Arlington Road and so they have crafted a tale that sets about informing us how and why these people do what they do.

                Michael Faraday is not your average American citizen. Not only has he lost his wife in an incident that he believes should never have happened, but also he blames government policy for putting his wife there in the first place. Secondly, he has a vocational interest in terrorism and imparts his thoughts and believes on knowledge-thirsty students. As a character, he is therefore extremely interesting and a likely, if not rather unpredictable hero. Oliver Lang is obvious. He is what you might call a “glaring hooter.” He is so normal, so nice and pleasant that it seems almost painfully obvious that there is more to him than meets the eye. But neither character quite fulfils the destiny that you expect.

                Initially, Arlington Road has a very dark feel to it. The opening scenes are both sinister and disturbing, in such a way that the audience is quickly drawn in and for the first 30-40 minutes, you aren’t quite sure what you have stumbled into. This comes as no real surprise when you discover that the director went on to make The Mothman Prophecies – a similarly eerie film. Sadly, this momentum didn’t seem to be fulfilled and I was really disappointed with the way things started to go. Characters started to change – or was it that they were just starting to show their true colours? Things started to become less feasible. People started to do the sort of things that people only do in thrillers, with desperation and extreme behaviour starting to become the norm. I actually found myself quite irritated and for a while I was losing interest in the whole thing. I had concluded that Arlington Road had started to lose the plot.

                But as the film drew to its conclusion, I decided that I was probably wrong and that the hysterics and strange behaviour were entirely purposeful. It’s not until you’ve seen the entire finished product that you realise the significance of such things. Arlington Road cannot really be analysed in a conventional scene-by-scene way. You have to take in the whole thing, and then make up your mind as to whether you liked it or not. The only trouble is, my attention span doesn’t really work like this.

                I didn’t like the characters. I found Michael Faraday intensely irritating and his willingness to believe the worst a little implausible. Neither did I understand some of the statements that he was trying to make whilst lecturing his students and there was an awkwardness about it that never felt quite right to me. Bridges gives his heart to the piece but is just TOO enthusiastic about it and ends up being rather irritating. Oliver Lang’s character is classic movie villain material – all smiles and niceness in public, but the creepy wife (Joan Cusack, eerily good) and unnatural kindness clearly don’t bode well. This means that he starts to end up like a pantomime character and certainly some scenes involving his wife inspire you to shout out, “Behind you!”

                Nonetheless, you can’t help but feel entertained by the finished product. The climax works well and overall, the idea is really rather good. I’d have liked to have seen more of the darkness introduced at the beginning, but as a study in urban terrorism, Arlington Road is interesting, for sure. The film is rated 15 for some slightly disturbing scenes but otherwise would interest most.

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                  15.06.2002 22:53
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                  Arlington Road is one of those films that I'd heard good things about but never really taken the chance to see. It got a small theatrical run and it passed me by on video. So when it finally arrived on Channel 4 a few weeks ago I made sure the video was set to record. In light of September 11th, this has become a more interesting film purely because it offers some interesting views on terrorism. The film also sets itself aside from the usual hollywood fare by being distinctly un-hollywood in some of it's plot twists. Jeff Bridges stars as college lecturer Micheal Faraday. His interests in lecturing have turned to terrorism after his wife was killed in a failed anti-terrorism FBI operation. Her death left him with alone with their son and only now has his life got some degree of stability through a relationship with another woman (Hope Davis). The arrival of new neighbours (Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack) in the street also allows his son to get back some stability as it's a family with kids of a similar age. However Michael soon becomes suspicious of his neighbours when they are cagey and unreluctant to show some parts of their house. Soon He uncovers a secret about his neighbours past and some deeper digging can't prepare Michael for the real truth and how it will afect his life and those around him. Arlington Road has some very good twists in it's tale throughout and it also helps that the situation is believable to a degree. Some people might not buy into the fact that terrosirsts would come in the shape of a normal family on an american suburban street. But then again it's the perfect cover for such operations. Bridges character at one stage makes a good point about the people who are blamed for some terrorist acts. He makes the point that having someone to blame takes away some of the pain and anger. This made me think of the almost immediate pointing of the finger at Bin Laden after the true life events
                  occured. I'm not saying that Bin Laden is innocent but it certainly is a good point to make. The acting in the film is good as you'd expect. The cast is made up of actors who are very good but not the big stars. You always buy Bridges as the everyday man and of coure Robbins can also be believed as one. This helps the film as I think some of the unease that the film portrays would be diffcult to buy if it were someone like Tom Cruise in the lead role. The direction is also assured by Mark Pellington. His background lies in music videos but he doesn't carry over any of the MTV style visuals that many from that background seem to think will work in a cinematic enviroment. He build up the tension throughout. In many ways this feels like a film that comes from an mainly independant kind of view. I say this because by the end of the film you are waiting for the usual good guy/bad guy confrontation that obviously ends up being okay in the end. I'm glad to say that Arlington Road doesn't actually do this and actually goes in the opposite direction. I won't say how but I think you'd be generally surprised.

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                    23.05.2002 04:14
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                    The movie starts with a blurred image of somebody stumbling down a street. There are background voices - urging voices - "Do it ! Come On !" they insist. The picture slowly starts to clear - shades of red are now visible - it's someone's shoes. The figure still staggers right down the centre of the road, we determine that it must be a child -red trainers. The picture clears completely, it's a boy and he's walking away from us down the road. The camera concentrates on his red shoes, wait..., there's a drop, and another. The drops are also red, drip, drip, red drops, red drops of blood fall onto the boys shoes as he staggers home. --------------------------------------------- This is Arlington Road, an unsuspecting ordinary road in a quiet suburb in Washington DC. A road where anyone of us might live, a road that has very few exciting events, but that is all about to change... Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) plays a widower and father to 10 year old Grant. Michael's wife was an FBI agent and was killed in a terrorist bombing. Although Michael is seeing another woman he is still grieving over the loss of his wife. Grant can't accept that this new woman might become a permanent part of their lives. Michael teaches terrorism history classes at the local University and since his wife's death has started to border on the edges of paranoia. --------------------------------------------- As the boy continues his awkward journey a car comes around the corner. The boy is still walking away from the car and the driver fears that something may be wrong, so he pulls up alongside the boy. The boy is momentarily startled out of his daze and stops to turn around - his hand is partially burned and damaged and is bleeding steadily. The boy is rushed to the hospital and his parents are sent for. Oliver (Tim Robbins) and Cheryl (Joan Cussack) Lang arrive to discover that their son has had an accident
                    whilst playing with fireworks - it is the month of March. --------------------------------------------- Oliver Lang is an architect and designs and builds shopping malls. Both he and his wife live next door to Michael and Grant Faraday but up until now they hadn't met. Very soon the families become very friendly and the two boys become inseparable. Then the lying starts - just small lies to begin with - then things that obviously aren't true. Suspicions are raised or is it, in-fact, that ugly paranoia raising its' head instead ? When Michael discovers that Oliver Lang is not THE Oliver Lang but William Fenimore, his investigation takes on a whole new meaning. --------------------------------------------- This 1999 thriller is quite morose but the characters are played really well. You begin to wonder whether Bridges is just imagining everything since Lang is the perfect father, host and employee. The end has a very unusual twist that you wouldn't have guessed until it is actually upon you, leaving you stunned and asking " Why " ? Tim Robbins plays a brilliant bad guy and Joan Cussack is spooky in her role as marvellous neighbour and doting mother. Bridges was an excellent choice to play the brooding, confused and distraught saviour. If you like tense thrillers, fine acting and unusual endings then this little known film might be just up your street (or ROAD). You never know what your neighbours get up to until it's too late...

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                      15.05.2002 23:16
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                      • "Some scenes drag a little"

                      I know I've been writing a lot of film reviews just recently...so why change now. Here's my review for a film that didn't achieve great box office success but did manage to keep audiences and critics alike glued fast to their seats. The film actually had quite a dodgy release in that it was released over here a few weeks before it opened on any US screens due to the US release date being put back because of the cut-throat Summer Box Office race. It was also spoiled for its US audiences because its distributor 'Sony Pictures Entertainment', released a preview trailer that left little of the film to the viewers' imagination by revealing many of the main secrets and plot twists. Hence the US audiences giving this film mixed reviews and many UK audience members lapping it right up. Possible Spoilers Ahead The film is essentially about paranoia and how perhaps it soemtimes pays off. Though not a great success now, I can see this film being remembered in the distant future, especially as it underlines the fight against terror post September 11th and reminds us that we can trust no one - not even sweet little doris with her small terrier dog who lives just across the street from you. The films opening sequence is dreamlike, eerie and unsettling and involves College Professor, Michael Farraday rescuing a boy who is walking down the road clutching his bloody chest following an 'accident' involving fireworks. As the film progresses we find out that the parents of the little boy (Brady)- Oliver and Cheryl Lang (Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack) are his new neighbours on 'Arlington Road', who also have another two children. The Langs' and Farradays' start to get to know each other better, with the Langs' even inviting Michael and his live-in girlfriend Brooke over to dinner. But Michael is unsure of his neighbours' and can see past their smiley exteriors' and starts to uncover li
                      ttle anomolies such as the fact that Oliver has blueprints of buildings in his office. This alarms Michael whose son 'Grant' has been spening a lot of time with the Lang family. Following further detective work Michael goes on to uncover secrets about Oliver's real identity and starts to think that his new neighbours are actually terrorists(I'm not giving anything away here - just watch the trailer and you'll see that I've only given you the half of it). Are his accusations justified or is Michael just becoming paranoid following the death of his wife 'Leah' a few months ago? I won't give that away either - I didn't realise how hard it would be to write a synopsis for this film without revealing some of its 'secrets'. 'Arlington Road', is a film that asks a lot of questions . These include, 'Can we trust the Government?', 'Can we really trust our neighbours?, 'How far should someone go in order to protect their family?'. I think films like this are successFul, they leave you in a state where you start to ask yourself the said questions and more besides. It is also a film that you watch and begin to make mental notes on, so you can try and piece together what's really going on before the end of the film. Is it Michael's overactive imagination? Is he paranoid? Has he been lecturing about terrorism so long that it has gone to his head? Am I going to answer any of those questions? - NO, Will me watching this intense psychological thriller answer all of the afore-mentioned questions - YES. Things that I didn't like too much about the film were - *Some of the scenes were predictable - every time the main character's discover something about the so-called terrorists, it just so happens that they are standing right behind them *Some of the scenes leave you shouting out at the TV - "CALL THE DAMN COPS!!!" *In the en
                      d of the film it seems that Farraday was their target all along and yet they don't meet until about 6 months after they moved in and when they did it was purely because of chance. *The film supports anti-terrorist views and yet the terrorists aren't the ones that are punished in the end. Okay, Okay - too much complaining. Maybe I was getting a little too picky just. Hope I haven't given anything away or even worse put you off watching the film. Overall I think that 'Arlington Road' is a great film. It is suspenseful, quite original, unpredictable, well written and tense - Everything you want and need in a good movie. Okay so maybe it starts off brilliantly and then slips a little but that's no excuse to not watch it because by the end you'll be tearing at your seats with anticipation. The film also features some great acting, especially from Jeff Bridges (oscar worthy material maybe) who plays Michael and Tim Robbins who plays Oliver Lang. Merit due also to scriptwriter 'Ehren Kruger' who refrained from unecessary sub-plots and too much emotional stuff. Instead opting for high octane thrills and a twist ending that equals Finchers' 'Seven' and maybe even 'The Usual Suspects'. This ending will leave you very unsettled and searching for your jaw on the floor - bearing in mind we actually begin to like the Michael character. You won't see it coming until it's too late... I'll say no more. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Hope Davis, Mason Gamble, and Robert Gossett Director: Mark Pellington Rating: 15 Running Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

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                        03.04.2002 21:34
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                        • "So very
                        • very average"

                        Arlington Road is not a bad movie. Honestly there are a lot worse movies out there. It promises much; the plot is somewhat original - teasers and promotional material asking the punter if they really know their neighbour as well as they think they do. Add a couple of good character actors and another potential Hollywood success story is on the cards. So what goes wrong? Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins both put in reasonably good performances as neighbours. Several twists and turns do keep the viewer guessing - but to the brutally honest I wasn't that involved in the film to worry too much about the final denouement. A lack of character development also left me unconcerned as to the welfare of the key players at the close of the movie. The film is a little run of the mill, well above your made for TV movie, but not really deserving of your hard earned cash. But is the dvd any good? The picture quality is very average, a grainy feel to some of the darker sequences is frequently present, for example when the two couples have dinner together, it is distinctly noticeable. Blockiness and artifacting do cheaper dvd players no favours whatsoever, and detracts from the mood of the film so much that I would have preferred to watch the film on VHS. In fact, I returned my dvd player following watching this movie, and bought a markedly better model. The soundtrack is similarly average, being mainly dialogue driven it was never going to test your system out properly. The extras on the disc are non-existent, which is a shame really as it may have turned a half reasonable film into a good dvd. The region one version of the disc has a number of extra features to its name, yet again us Europeans have to put up with an inferior release. Perhaps it is because our extras are replaced with numerous foreign language soundtracks, or maybe the BBFC has not classified them, or maybe the producers simply could not be bothered. Whichever,
                        not even a trailer makes it onto this disc. Obviously somebody was far too busy putting together commentaries, alternate endings, a making of feature, to be concerned with our European release. All in all, very, very ordinary on all fronts. Worth a rental maybe, or a viewing on television but certainly not worth purchasing, even for the £10 budget asking price in the high street. Avoid.

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                      • Product Details

                        Widowed when his FBI agent wife is killed in a botched anti-terrorist operation, a college professor (Jeff Bridges) becomes increasingly obsessed with the culture of these dangerous groups. The arrival of new neighbors (Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack), rouses him from his slump, as they are gregarious and friendly, with two children that his son befriends. However, he begins to suspect something is odd about the new neighbors, something about the way they don't want him to see certain parts of the house, or a set of blueprints they have there. Are his neighbors terrorists... or is the stress of losing his wife driving him past the point of paranoia?