Arlington Road, Review
1999, *****, Suspense
It is riveting and oozing with suspense from the very beginning. Arlington Road, starring Jeff Bridges (The Contender, Seabiscuit ) and Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River) pulls you towards the edge of your seat. It is for sure gripping, and makes you think about the terrorism situation throughout the world. The acting is pure genius and outstanding performances are done by the entire cast.
This is one of the many true acting accomplishments of Jeff Bridges. The mixture of cast between Bridges and Robbins accompanied by Joan Cusack (School of Rock) and Hope Davis is award winning. Joan Cusack plays Robbins' wife, and perfectly captures a wicked yet concerned neighbor. She adds an extremity like no other support. Hope Davis (American Splendor) play Bridges girlfriend, who is very skeptical of his accusations of their neighbors. She makes Bridges out to be the bad guy, yet she is wrong.
The idea of a terrorist living in your neighborhood (in modern day) is hard to accept but with the help of knowledge and evidence it becomes compelling. Individuals, who are ignorant and living in a fantasyland, believe that everyone is a good human being. These individuals have no consciousness of a corrupt society and they do not see the evil in people. Therefore the corrupt people would easily get away with their actions of destruction.
College professor Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) begins to suspect his neighbor Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins) is not really who he says he is. Faraday takes it upon himself to discover the real past of Lang. From name changes to teenage bombing attempts, Faraday becomes impatient and anxious, as the information he gathers points to a very dangerous terrorist organization led by Lang.
This driven, nail-biting action-drama is well laid out and interesting to follow, but it is not your typical hero flick at the end. The suspense builds; there are twists quite different from other films of its kind. Scenes are well ordered so you are not lost in the pace of the story. Flashbacks do occur, and help you understand the main characters feelings about terrorism. This sets the tone, and helps the viewer understand some of Bridges background and knowledge of the subject. The film feels as though there is a climax point every five seconds, although you get a real dose at the very end. You will be hanging by a thread until the bitter end of the road.
The music for the film is extremely effective. The music when Faraday is caught researching his neighbor makes your heart pound with fear! The intensity that engages the viewer with full close-ups of Bridges eyes, and facial expressions that reek of fear is sheer brilliance. The lighting arrangements are also rather frightening, which makes you more aware of the terror. These additives are what make the film gripping and a pure excellent production.
I believe this is a film that is not only intelligent, but also superior to all others like it. It shows that we are vulnerable to terrorists. Individuals who are out to destroy and hide in plain sight are the most difficult ones to catch. I believe if everyone had seen this film before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks they would have better understood that these people have no value for human life. They would see that many of these evil individuals get away with their immoral crimes and that something must be done to stop them.