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Arlington Road
Category Thriller
Year: 1999
Time: 117 minutes
Production: Screen Gems/Lakeshore
Director: Mark Pellington
Cast:
Jeff Bridges, Tim Robins, Joan Cusack, Hope Davis
MPAA R / UK15
Our Rating 6/10 - nowhere near as good as the hype
Watchability 3/10 - too slow moving and improbable
Contributed by JT
 
Plot:

Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) is a paranoid and widowed college professor with a thing for Government conspiracy theories, who starts to suspect that his seemingly friendly neighbour, Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins), may just be another terrorist.

 
So, how does it end?

Brooke follows Oliver to a depot, sees him loading metal boxes into a van, and immediately assumes they are bombs and that Michael is completely right to think he's a terrorist.  She leaves a message on his answering machine, and is startled when she turns around to find Cheryl Lang standing behind her.

Michael returns home after work and watches the news to find out that Brooke has died in a car accident. He races to the scene, but it's all too late.

Understandably inconsolable, he stops by the Lang's house for support, and apologises for his actions over the last few weeks. He doesn't tell little Grant, who is still at scout camp.

Later, Whit Carver from the FBI phones Michael, asking for any latest news, and that he hasn't heard back since he left a message on his answering machine. Michael asks him to retrieve a log of all incoming calls - and notices outside a suspicious guy monitoring the phone lines. He gets into the car, tells Whit to run the name of Oliver Lang and off he goes.

He tracks down the father of the convicted bomber from before. The father thinks he was innocent, although easily led, and may have been framed. While talking Michael learns that the bomber was part of a scout group - in an old picture is Oliver as a fellow leader.

He races over to the scout camp to pick up Grant - but it's too late, Oliver has beaten him to it.

Rather than find the police, or use his direct Fed contact at this point, Michael goes to the Lang's house alone. They are having a party. Oliver tells him that he owes Michael for saving the life of his son, which is the reason why he is still alive, and if he wants to see his son again he needs to keep out of the way for a few days.  Weirdly, he agrees.

Whit tracks down Michael, and tells him that he has found nothing on Lang except the earlier crime under the different name. To protect his friend, Michael doesn't let on, fearing that they are being watched. Michael is handed the list of calls, and only now realises that Brooke phoned him and may have been murdered.

Suddenly inspired, Michael rents a car the next day and goes to the pay phone Brooke used.  By chance, a Liberty courier van passes by, and Michael (of course) assumes that everything must revolve around this passing van. He follows the van, and luckily for him it's the one being used by the dodgy phone repairman and another guy from the party.  He follows them, badly (he's not been taking on the tips from Burn Notice), but is soon rumbled and Grant shows himself at the back window.

Michael panics. He follows the van into an old complex, and is hit by a truck driven by Oliver.  Oliver beats him up, again Michael just takes it.  Suddenly, Michael starts to fight back, overpowers Oliver, but then just leaves him behind.

He gets back in the car hoping to find the courier van, and soon does so. He follows it to the main FBI building.  He phones ahead to warn Carver. The van moves through the checkpoint. Michael is stopped, but drives through the barrier and into the underground car park. He fights off the agents to approach the van - but finds that it is empty, and driven by someone else.

He walks back to his car - opens the boot - and there is the bomb. It explodes. Oliver watches the smoke from a distance.

There is carnage in the area, as reported on TV. Many agents have died.  Faraday is soon exposed as the bomber.  His students give their verdict on his erratic behaviour.  Grant is taken away to live with relatives.

Oliver and Cheryl stand outside their home, with a "for sale" sign on the lawn, planning their next move, hoping to move somewhere safe.

Vote:
 
4.15/10 ( 27 Votes )
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