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The "how to" on making a good thriller.
9/10 "Arlington Road" is the perfect example for how thrillers should be made.5 years ago
A good story, a good atmosphere, good actors and voila! you have got a good thriller. "Arlington Road" has got it all and it's a near perfect movie that is a must see for the thriller fans.
The intense beginning sets the mood for the rest of the movie. It's atmospheric and tense right till the good ending. I'll admit that there are some slow moments and some distracting plot lines but it doesn't take away the tension or ruins the atmosphere in any kind of way.
The movie is very well casted with Jeff Bridges as the more and more paranoid getting Michael Faraday and Tim Robbins as his neighbour that he begins to suspects of being a terrorist. Both main actors pull of really well and help to created the good thriller atmosphere that this movie has.
Good thriller with a great atmosphere, story, actors and ending that will stay with you forever.
Do You Know Those People Across The Street?
8/10 Contrary to what you may think initially, nothing happens by coincidence on `Arlington Road.' Outstanding performances by Jeff Bridges (As Michael Faraday) and Tim Robbins (Oliver Lang) highlight this taut thriller about terrorism in America, a disturbing film instilled with a sense of loss, fear and paranoia. Director Mark Pellington perhaps does not mine this vein to the depths, but there is still a silver lining in this movie, which contains elements of two of Alfred Hitchcock's classics, `The Man Who Knew Too Much,' and `North By Northwest.' Had this film been made forty years ago, in fact, Hitchcock would have been at the helm and we would have had James Stewart instead of Bridges and Richard Widmark in place of Robbins. When Jeff Bridges stars in a thriller, you can usually bet that the project is going to be a cut above the average fare of the genre, and this one is no exception, arguably his best of it's kind since `Jagged Edge.' This is a riveting film, and the tension builds steadily throughout as we uncover, along with Faraday, the dark secrets which ultimately lead to an explosive climax. The excellent supporting cast includes Joan Cusack, Hope Davis and Robert Gossett. A trip to `Arlington Road' is a jolt to the senses and may cause you to stop and rethink a few things about your life. At the very least, you're going to want to finally meet that neighbor who moved in across the street last year. I rate this one 8/10.5 years ago
Should never have been made
3/10 *****PLOT SPOILERS THROUGHOUT THIS REVIEW******** ******DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE FILM!********5 years ago
In real life, successful plans (especially military ones) allow for things going wrong, things not happening in the right order, unexpected events and unreliable information. The 'Fog of War' is a major factor in any situation, even with today's technologies. Clever plans have a great amount of tolerance built-in, so they can be changed to fit current circumstances as parts of them succeed or fail, especially when you have little direct control over the situation.
Not so for Robbins' character's terrorists.
- Bridges' character beats up Robbins' badly enough so he feels comfortable leaving him alone but not so badly that he's unconscious. This is all part of the plan, we find out. How could Robbins' character rely on not being either restrained, knocked out, taken to the police or even killed by Bridges' character?
- Bridges' character spends just long enough fighting Robbins' for a bomb to be securely planted in his car, but is in a hurry enough to leave a live and unrestrained Robbins. How could Robbins' character possibly plan for this?
- Bridges' character, a civilian academic in a disturbed state of mind, has enough stunt driving skills to speed through acres of pedestrians in the middle of rush hour, so that he'll just see the noon delivery van disappearing into the FBI building. If he misses the van or arrives before it, or if the van itself isn't on time, the bomb won't get into the building.
- In real life he would have wrecked the car (and maybe damaged or set off the bomb) or been stopped by the police before he was a quarter of the way to the FBI building.
- What if Bridges had parked his car outside and gone in the building by foot?
- Bridges character HAS ALREADY PHONED the FBI building to warn them about the bomb BEFORE he sets out. Why didn't Robbins' terrorists break his mobile phone when they planted the bomb in his car?
- Why didn't the FBI building close its gates after the warning? Surely they would have at least stopped the white delivery van Bridges' character specifically tells his Agent friend to investigate.
- Why the heck is Robbins' character trying to convince the world it's the work of a crazy individual anyway? How does that draw attention to or advance his cause?
- Worst of all, why does Robbins' character embark on an elaborate six month charade of dinner parties, psychological warfare, deliberately injured children, campsite kidnappings, faked car crashes, hidden blueprints, hostage taking, phone tapping, name changes, car exchanges, etc etc? All he has to do is deliver a briefcase sized bomb fifty yards past a small checkpoint. Couldn't he have driven it himself? Couldn't he have abandoned a parked car just outside the building with a larger bomb in it instead?
No one would ever devise a plot anything like Arlington Road except a thriller writer desperate to keep the viewer amused.
This is why the film should never have been made, because it wraps a brainless mediocre piece of entertainment in the bodies of the 149 adults and 19 children who died in the Oklahoma massacre. It is exploiting a recent real-life atrocity purely for the sake of making money and selling videos. Death = $$$$.
It's obscene, and worst of all some people will think this is how terrorists operate in real life. Real terrorists leave arabic flight manuals in hire cars and tell instructors they're not interested in how to land an aircraft, but still manage to kill 3000 people in one day. That's what's really frightening.
Underplayed acting makes for a taught thriller
8/10 Bridges plays the same character as always, but fits nicely into this part. Robbins plays a very back stage part for most of the film, the main concentration is on the small minded paranoia of Bridges. Brilliant film which brings home some harsh, hard truths about American society and security. An interesting storyline, which excels beyond the average Hollywood thriller, the typical guessing game of the goodies and baddies plays a secondary role to the real story. A uniquely intelligent terrorist thriller from Hollywood. Don't miss it.5 years ago
Flawed but resonant film
8/10 It seems like every year, there's one or two films which are far from perfect but nonetheless shake us up in ways better films don't quite do. Last year, it was BULWORTH, and this year, it's ARLINGTON ROAD. Obviously, after all that's happened this decade in America, from Waco to Oklahoma City, the time is ripe for a movie to explore the cracks in the American dream which brought about events like those. This film ultimately asks more questions than it answers, but that may just be a condition inherent to this type of film. More troubling is two things: (1) Though I agree with those(and I'll try not to give away too much here) who theorize the ending changes the whole perspective of the film, there are still too many key narrative cheats(a conversation Robbins supposedly had with Bridges' son seems unbelievable, and the traffic light scene near the end also is) to make it fully effective; (2) The film seems a little confused of what it's about; it is a study of one man's psyche, or the nation's?5 years ago
Still, ARLINGTON ROAD shouldn't be dismissed. There are troubling questions explored, and you don't have to be a conspiracy nut to believe those so-called "fringe" hate groups are entering the mainstream at a frightening rate for a so-called "civilized" society. The ending is also powerful, and though I understand it, more than anything else, was responsible for the delays, I applaud whoever was in charge for not changing it(though again, how they got there is another story). Bridges' performance is another thing which makes more sense once you look back with the ending of the film in mind, and it doesn't seem like over-acting. Robbins is a little more problematic; there are scenes where he's convincing, and then scenes where he goes over-the-top and shouldn't. Hope Davis doesn't have a big part, but she injects a lot into it as usual. But the biggest surprise here is Joan Cusack. Anyone who thinks of her only as a (good)comic actress will be in for a shock; there's one scene involving her which is the scariest in the film.
Again, ultimately, while it leaves you with nagging doubts about the quality, ARLINGTON ROAD makes you think enough to recommend it.