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Laramie Movie Scope:
Arlington Road

A high-powered conspiracy thriller

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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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+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1999 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)