1999   USA Arlington Road
Arlington Road Image Cover
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Director:Mark Pellington
Studio:Sony Pictures
Writer:Ehren Kruger
IMDb Rating:7.2 (40,229 votes)
Awards:5 nominations
Genre:Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Duration:117 min
Mark Pellington  ...  (Director)
Ehren Kruger  ...  (Writer)
Jeff Bridges  ...  Michael Faraday
Tim Robbins  ...  Oliver Lang
Joan Cusack  ...  Cheryl Lang
Hope Davis  ...  Brooke Wolfe
Robert Gossett  ...  FBI Agent Whit Carver
Mason Gamble  ...  Brady Lang
Spencer Treat Clark  ...  Grant Faraday
Stanley Anderson  ...  Dr. Archer Scobee
Viviane Vives  ...  Nurse
Lee Stringer  ...  Orderly
Darryl Cox  ...  Troopmaster, Conspirator
Loyd Catlett  ...  Delivery Man, Conspirator
Sid Hillman  ...  Phone Technician, Conspirator
Auden Thornton  ...  Hannah Lang
Mary Ashleigh Green  ...  Daphne Lang
Jenni Tooley  ...  Ponytail Girl, Conspirator (as Jennie Tooley)
Grant Garrison  ...  Student Kemp
Naya Castinado  ...  Student O'Neill
Laura Poe  ...  Leah Faraday
Christopher Dahlberg  ...  FBI Agent Buckley (as Chris Dahlberg)
Gabriel Folse  ...  FBI Agent Merks
Hunter Burkes  ...  Hutch Parsons
Josh Ridgway  ...  18-Year-Old Parsons
Hans Stroble  ...  16-Year-Old Parsons
Michelle Du Bois  ...  Parsons Girl
Steve Ottesen  ...  TV Reporter #2
Harris Mackenzie  ...  TV Reporter #3
John Hussey  ...  Accident Detective
Charles Sanders  ...  Camp Occoquan Official #1
Todd Terry  ...  Camp Occoquan Official #2
Gina Santori  ...  Party Girl / Student
Denver Williams  ...  FBI Guard #1
Willie Dirden  ...  FBI Guard #2
Paul Pender  ...  FBI Van Agent #1
Charlie Webb  ...  FBI Van Agent #2
Billy D. Washington  ...  FBI Van Agent #3
Cindy Hom  ...  TV Reporter #4
Dave Allen Clark  ...  TV Reporter #5
Ken Manelis  ...  Reporter Charles Bell
Deborah Swanson  ...  Bomb Site Reporter
Homer Jon Young  ...  Student
Angelo Badalamenti  ...  composer
tomandandy  ...  composer
Bobby Bukowski  ...  Cinematographer
Comments: Fear Thy Neighbor

Summary: It's easy to understand why Arlington Road sat on the studio shelf for nearly a year. No, the film isn't awful; rather, it's an extremely edgy and ultimately bleak thriller that offers no clear-cut heroes or villains. In other words, Hollywood had no idea how to sell it. Director Mark Pellington's underrated directorial debut, Going All the Way, suffered the same fate, essentially because the filmmaker's presentation of suburban America often shifts dramatically within the same film. Characters are usually miserable and bordering on meltdown, no situation is straightforward, and things usually end badly. Arlington Road begins as an astute study of suburban paranoia. Michael Faraday (a face-pinched Jeff Bridges, who spends most of the film on the brink of tears) is a college professor who teaches American history courses on terrorism. He's been a conspiracy freak since his wife, an FBI agent, was killed during a botched raid that feels like a thinly fictionalized reference to the Waco tragedy. After saving the life of his next-door neighbor's child, he initially befriends the family (Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack), but soon believes the husband is a terrorist. The first half of the film mocks Faraday: he has no real evidence and is not the most stable of protagonists. Despite the fact that it was government paranoia that got his wife killed, Faraday repeats the same type of behavior. Pellington shifts gears in the second half, however, and for awhile, it seems that the film has simultaneously sunk into a cheap, high-octane brand of Hollywood entertainment and undermined its own point. Arlington Road, though, possesses a stunning ending that's a real gut punch, one that may leave you needing a second viewing to catch all of its smartly executed setup. --Dave McCoy

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