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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 21 January 2005
This film seems to have gone under the radar somewhat, as tends to be the case with Tim Robbins and/or Jeff Bridges movies. Which is a shame because, in my view, this is one of the cleverest, most thought-provoking films made in the last few years.

Michael Faraday (Bridges) is a lecturer at a university, who teaches a class on FBI misgivings and conspiracies, since the death of his wife, herself an FBI worker, two years previous. He befriends his neighbour Oliver Lang (Robbins), a structural engineer, after an incident involving the two men's sons. At first, the two men get on great, but when Michael starts receiving Oliver's email from the university of Pennsylvania (Oliver claims to have gone to Kansas State), he starts suspecting Oliver's background. So much so that it takes over his life, and those of the people that are around him...

Impressively acted by two of Hollywood's more underrated actors, this is a movie that can only be done justice by being watched. The storyline is far-fetched but, vitally, it never seems unlikely or implausible. And the ending, which ingeniusly ties in with almost everything that has gone before it, is unforgettable.

Make sure this masterpiece doesn't carry on going unnoticed.
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on 30 April 2000
Arlington Road is a thriller with a difference. For me, that difference was the fact that for the majority of the time it does not feel like much of a thriller. The first half of the film is spent reiterating what is already said on the back of the video box. Then the pace picks up and you're into your bog standard suspense action movie where if you've seen one, you've seen them all and it's just a case of whether or not Jeff Bridges will work out what we've known all along- something is majorly dodgey about Tim Robbins- and if he'll get there in time. But don't be deceived... All the little snippets of seemingly irrelevant information used to bulk out the plot in the first half all work towards the ending. The previously straight forward plot takes you here when you expected to go there and as you learn more you realise that this film is not going to wrap everything up nicely like the viewer wants. Stick through the first hour of the film, although it might seem plodding and not anything special, the ending makes it all worthwhile. There's nothing else I can say without giving the plot away. It's a shock. I was stunned.
Jeff Bridges is on his usual top form and gives an excellen and sensitive performance as Michael Faraday, a man who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. Tim Robbins is superbly sinister as the seemingly average next door neighbour. Both the leads are excellent and with a great script and great action this is one amazing thriller.
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on 20 September 2015
A not so famous film directed by an excellent professionist (he also filmed The Mothman Prophecy) who definitely realizes his best film here, also due to a diabolic and provocative script, and 3 fantastic actors.
Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack are as evil and unsettling as they can be, while Jeff Bridges perfectly convey a sense of disorientation and search for truth and justice that you can't help symphatize with.
Alrington Road is an action(/thriller that is so well directed and edited in order to entertain you down to the end, but adopts this approach to talk about something more and deeper than just a mystery thriller: is a highly political and provocative film, which digs down in the unconfessed and subterranean reactionary and antigovernment mentality of many americans, with a conspiracy side where it is not just a matter of evil vs good, but where the boundaries between them are quite softened.
The increasing sense of paranoia and solitude of the protagonist makes you definitely think that a thinking individual can do just a little in a society like that....
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on 26 April 2010
A very enjoyable film, superbly acted by all and very gripping. However the outcome is hard to believe, the plot relies on everything working to perfection. Are they seriously expecting us to believe that the terrorists can control Faraday in such a pin point degree of accuracy? For their plot to work, Faraday has to do things that probably is a 1 in 10 chance at most. Highly unbelievable but still a very gripping and enjoyable film, just dont take it too seriously.
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on 21 December 2001
I went to see this film with no expectations at all. It was one of those nights where there was nothing else on so we decided to give it a go.
I left the cinema in complete shock. I've never watched a film that builds up the suspense so much and delivers such an ending.
Jeff Bridges is excellent as the paranoid professor of terrosism at the local college who blames the FBI for the death of his wife.
Tim Robins delivers a menacing performance as the guy next door who slowly manipulates bridges.
The story gives a unique insight into terrorism and fanatism in the states and how the FBI's explanations of events sometimes simply don't fit.
The real star of the film though is the twist. Like all good endings - you'll be going back to see did it all fit together. This one does and its done very well.
Its a film that has a huge impact on its first viewing - subsequent viewings don't quite have the same value but its definetely worth a look
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on 6 May 2012
What is unusual in this movie is twofold: the view on terrorism (note the movie was years before the 9-11 tragedy) and the ending. I give it 4 star for this, even if overall one could say the movie is a collection of bits and pieces already seen somewhere else. Besides, the fast-paced last part does not go with the rest and is overdone, a-la-Hollywood (car chase on highway is included).
The ending will leave with a bitter taste: as action spins up one would tend to believe that as in all US movies the bad ones will perish or be caught, the good ones will win. The opposite here. Definitely one is left with a sense of emptiness, again considering this was years before the Twin Tower attack.
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on 15 July 2012
I came across this gem of a film by chance and was absolutely captivated. It is a taut thriller where the tension is added, drip by drip. Are people what they seem? What are the people across the road really doing? Tim Robbins is utterly convincing as the chubby cheeked, affable family man. Jeff Bridges is the rather damaged widower who is a bit of a worry for those around him and is getting some really weird ideas. As the film develops you begin to question some of these assumptions but always, it is the neighbour who is kind and charming, while it is Jeff Bridges' character who is acting oddly and has developing paranoia.

Some big questions are being played out. What is the role of the State? Does the State have the right to poke and pry into everyone's affairs? But what if those fears are well grounded and there are people out there attempting to bring down society? Rather than go down the easy route of foreign terrorists, the film explores the fear of the enemy within. Of course, the USA had already experienced the Oklahoma bombing before the film came out but subsequent events in the USA and UK make the subject of the film as relevant today.

For all that, this is a thoroughly enjoyable, gripping film and not to be missed.
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on 30 July 2006
Expect the unexpected... What would you do if you suddenly become obsessed with your neighbor is a terrorist and involved in a surreptitious and bloody plot? Here, Arlington Road, directed by Mark Pellington and written by Ehren Kruger provocatively poses some serious questions about the dangers of domestic terrorism and the MASS PARANOIA of people who see giant conspiracies afoot everywhere. Also, the film attempts to examine the crooked psychology behind terrorism and caveat against the trustworthiness of your friends and neighbors.

I think Arlington Road is one of the best psychological as well as controversial thrillers to come out over the past 10 years: a good paragon of how a good thriller should be made. Story is interesting, plot is intriguing, casting is dazzling, ending is mind-blowing. Jeff Bridges, Joan Cusack and Tim Robbins all deliver brilliant performances.

Most Hollywood movies put out have the same basic plot structure and you can predict the ending halfway through the film. This one is not one of those, with an ending totally breaking down the TABOO of "good-guy wins" cliche of Hollywood. Its exhilarating "OMIGOD" ending, which is by far the most noteworthy aspect of the entire picture, defies expectations and accomplishes the difficult task of surprising the viewer.

If you like movies with sharp twists and turns, don't miss it.
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on 11 March 2010
Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) lectures on terrorism. When he saves the life of Oliver Lang's (Tim Robbins) child, a friendship is formed between the two men. They start to see each other socially and their children hang out with each other. Is all as it seems....?

It's a good film but it has a few dodgy bits that suspend belief, eg, Brooke's (Hope Davis) inability to understand the bleeding obvious when Bridges is shoving loads of proof in her face. I was also confused as to the role of Cheryl (Joan Cusack) - innocent or evil? The film has a different outcome to what you would expect which would shock the viewer more if we could care about Jeff Bridges. Tim Robbins has a far more interesting role and he steals the acting honours. Special mention to Joan Cusack for being scarily mad, I think!
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on 20 July 2013
The premise of the story is that US anarchists are a highly organized bunch but skillfully manage to pin the blame on lone eccentrics. Jeff Bridges plays an irritatingly emotional widower for whom every disagreement becomes an existential crisis as he bangs and crashes his way though every turn in the story like a mad elephant. Makes you want to support the cool bad guys. This adverse characteristic is later revealed to be fundamental to the story.
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