September 27, 1999 -- "Arlington Road" is a story about a man, Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges of the "The Big Lebowski") who finds terrorists in his suburban neighborhood.
Faraday is a college professor who is convinced a major bombing incident involving a federal building was not the work of a lone bomber. He is also deeply wounded by the loss of his wife, an FBI agent, in a shootout that superficially resembles the Ruby Ridge incident.
He comes to suspect his neighbors, Oliver and Cheryl Lang (Tim Robbins of "The Shawshank Redemption" and Joan Cusack of "Runaway Bride") as being part of a right-wing conspiracy intent on bombing a federal building. He can't quite convince himself of their complicity in such a monstrous crime, but he keeps on digging up evidence.
Faraday tries to convince the FBI that he's on to something with his theory, but they won't listen. After a time, he and his family becomes threatened by the group as he gets closer to the truth. Faraday becomes more and more frantic.
The film does a good job of building suspense and the conclusion has a nice twist to it. However, there are some serious character inconsistencies, particularly one decision involving a stay at a summer camp. Also the clever machinations of the conspirators involving the bombing are a bit too perfect. The final sequence of events is so precisely orchestrated that it would probably only work in a movie where the game is totally rigged.
Nonetheless, the movie works fairly well as a suspenseful thriller. It is aided by good performances by Cusack, Bridges and Robbins. Cusack's performance is a revelation. She usually plays ditzy characters. Here, she is genuinely menacing. The movie also has good stunt work. It rates a C+.
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