A movie directed by Mark Pellington
"What a brilliant movie!" That's all that I could exclaim over and over after watching Arlington Road. Not only is the film well written and finely directed, but it takes your emotions on a psychotic roller-coaster ride. A friend of mine had to stop watching the film near the end because it just got way too suspenseful for her and she "couldn't take any more."
Michael Faraday (Bridges) is a professor at The George Washington University (which happens to be my alma mater) in Washington, DC, where he teaches a class on terrorism. His wife was an FBI agent, killed in the line of duty. He is now a widowed father of a 10-year-old boy, Grant (Spencer Treat Clark). Faraday also has a girlfriend, Brooke (Hope Davis), who was one of his graduate students.
Across the street live Oliver and Cheryl Lang (Robbins & Joan Cusak), a good looking couple who recently moved from Missouri. Things happen (which I REFUSE to spoil for you) and Faraday begins to suspect that Lang isn't really who he appears to be. Faraday does his own spying, much to the protest of Brooke, and finds that his fears are worse than he imagined.
This movie asks four major questions. First, what would you do for your country? Knowing that Faraday's wife was killed in the line of duty makes you think about if what the FBI does is really worth the risk of so many lives. Secondly, what would you do for your family? The way the Langs live with their three children is amazing. How much Faraday loves his son twists the emotions of the audience. What would you do to protect your family? Third, what would you do for money? I won't elaborate on this one, because I don't want to spoil anything for the movie. But, seriously, if someone gave you a million dollars to drop off a package you knew was a bomb, would you? Finally, how well do you really know your neighbor? Think about that one. They could be drug dealers, terrorists, movie stars... You just don't know.
Bridges portrays the paranoia incredibly well. Robbins is a terrific bad guy. Cusak, on the other hand, ruined it for me. No matter how hard she tries, she just can't be evil.
You will not breathe for the last 20 minutes of the movie. That's how intense it it. If you're in the mood for a suspense-thriller (and that's putting it mildly), Arlington Road is the one to see.
Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
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