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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.66%
Worth A Look43.1%
Just Average: 11.21%
Pretty Crappy: 16.38%
Sucks: 14.66%

10 reviews, 56 user ratings

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Arlington Road
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by Charles Tatum

"Ran off the Road"
1 stars

While the original theatrical trailer pretty much gave away the entire plot of this film, I do not want to spoil this for anyone left on earth who has not seen it. Just because I don't like a film doesn't mean I should ruin it for you.

Jeff Bridges, a terrorism expert and college professor, begins to suspect something a little funny about new neighbors Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack. As he begins investigating Robbins, he must convince those around him that none of this has to do with his FBI wife's death in a shootout. Eventually, Bridges suspects Robbins might be a terrorist, and tries to get his new girlfriend and his wife's old boss to believe him. As his son is put in danger, the film winds down to a tense finale with a surprise ending.

In this day and age, terrorism films may seem quaint and uncomfortable. I felt wrong watching this, but because of the script, which somehow won a Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy Awards people. Bridges' character is an intense professor teaching a class on terrorism. In one impossible scene, Bridges takes his class on a field trip...to the place where his wife was killed! While the scene is well acted, directed, and edited, this scene put me over the edge of credibility. The film is full of scenes like that.

The script seems to have started with the very good twist ending, and then constructed backward until the story was there, and this is the problem. Watch as Bridges calls up state vital statistics bureaus and gets information right over the phone from name change applications and death certificates. If you have ever done any sort of genealogical research like I have, you would know death certificates must be requested by mail and sent to you after you make a claim as to relationships and reasons behind the search. I wish it were as easy as calling someone up and getting information. Bridges also seems to be making these calls at night, when these state offices would be closed. Bridges' distrust of the FBI because of his wife's death is not explored adequately either, resulting in the viewer just wishing he would tell his suspicions to someone else besides his girlfriend, who finds the absolute weakest reasons not to believe him.

Pellington's direction is excellent, and he somehow manages to build suspense despite the script's shortcomings. Angelo Badalamenti's musical score is perfect. Jeff Bridges is good in a very difficult role that requires this much suspension of belief. He keeps the weaker scenes grounded, since his pain and suspicion is evident on his face. Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack are good, they are really good at playing people who may not be what they seem, but sometimes their innocent act went too far.

"Arlington Road" is a well done film. It is an exciting, well acted film. It can raise questions about how much we really know about people around us, and how far we would go to protect others. It is also not well written, sloppy, and a supreme disappointment.

Do not be so taken with the ending as to ignore the messy hour and a half that came before. The horrible script totally negated any positive aspects I found in the film.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1072&reviewer=325
originally posted: 02/21/03 18:44:58
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell effective but routine 4 stars
3/15/15 Anne Could be a 5 star if less melodramatic. Dynamite ending, relevant today! 4 stars
11/02/14 Dan Worst ending ive seen in a while! While the movie was ok, the ending ruined it. 2 stars
8/28/08 Shaun Wallner boring! couldnt watch the whole thing. 1 stars
9/20/07 amy i didnt understand realy probably becasue i missed some of it 3 stars
9/11/07 juice75 love the movie 5 stars
5/28/07 action movie fan great moive spies next door great thrills and action one of the best of ,99 5 stars
9/30/05 Adam Good acting but story a little weak in parts, ending is a bitch 4 stars
2/04/05 Jeff Anderson Tim Robbins' chilling, understated performance & Mark Pellington's stylish direction ROCK!! 5 stars
2/24/04 LIAM JACKSON Robbins' seemingly innocent neighbour hiding murderous intentions was chilling 5 stars
4/07/03 Mystique a great tim robbins 4 stars
3/02/03 Jack Sommersby Full-throttle, mesmerizing thriller. Bridges' and Pellington's work are outstanding. 4 stars
8/13/02 Ted V. stylishly creepy, Tim Robbins' acting was great 5 stars
7/31/02 Charles Tatum Seriously flawed story 1 stars
7/26/02 I Can't Swim Over-rated trash to give those paranoid among us another hive 2 stars
6/06/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi good storyline, the ending is very unfortunate....all the actors do a great job... 4 stars
2/05/02 Aiken Drum These where the acts of just one man. I feel safe now. 5 stars
1/21/02 Mad Max FU, Bill head! 4 stars
9/14/01 palaboy after witnessing the events that happened in DC&NYC, u have got to see this movie! 5 stars
5/22/01 Bada Bing Crosby Fast forward to the last 20mins, that's the only part worth seeing at all 4 stars
5/02/01 Bueller The ending SUCKED! In the movies, all villans should die. Especially over the top villans! 2 stars
4/09/01 ChErRyRiPe Very excellent thriller which I enjoyed watching it over and over again! 5 stars
3/07/01 sanja I love to see the main role dead 4 stars
1/08/01 Sully Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Loved it. Disregard the moronic comments below. 5 stars
11/21/00 The Bill Head I would rather gargle pieces of glass mixed in with mutated baby chuncks than see it again! 1 stars
2/11/00 Richard Wright Over-the-top acting, an implausible plot... but gotta say, LOVE that ending! 3 stars
12/09/99 Starla Bad. Very disjointed and apparently pointless. The ending was a cop-out. 2 stars
12/09/99 JonnyAngel Worked for me. 4 stars
12/09/99 stuart buxton While unevenly paced, Arlington Rd remains one of the more chilling releases of the year. 4 stars
12/04/99 Eric S. Despite implausibilities, Jeff Bridges' performance and the ending make this film work 4 stars
11/19/99 George Nedelchev Intelligent, well-acted, well-shot. 4 stars
11/13/99 Matthew Smith an urban thriller with an ending that you haunt you for days to come 5 stars
11/01/99 Crikkit This movie really makes you think. A must see for Tim Robbins fans. 5 stars
10/29/99 Bozo Hey! Watch that "Yanks" shit! I thought it sucked too! Feel better? 2 stars
9/18/99 RelliK Sick Puppies(That's you, the Yanks) 4 stars
9/10/99 Timbo Annoying as a case of crabs 1 stars
9/10/99 Kevin Way Yet Another Conspiracy Movie. 3 stars
8/25/99 Sylvia phantastic thriller 5 stars
8/24/99 Pierce Lanson Bloody good film!!-Tense thriller, great performances! 5 stars
8/16/99 Brigid O'Connor Not as good as expected 3 stars
8/12/99 elizaveta Truly amazing film - Constantly on edge from the first scene to the devastating last!!! 5 stars
8/10/99 yoon ji -san f 4 stars
7/31/99 Obi Wan Came in with no expectations...but was satisfied with what I left. Defn8ly an HBO flick 3 stars
7/26/99 David Kindred Some good points at beginning, but tried too hard to screw you in the end. 2 stars
7/22/99 Jo Jo, The Idiot Circus Boy Mmm.....feed me to Mystery Science Theater 3000 1 stars
7/22/99 Mr. Morden Wonderfully acted, but very poorly written. Hilariously bad at times. 2 stars
7/22/99 PhilmPhreak Just saw it and barely remember anything about it 3 stars
7/18/99 Malbert Pretty disturbing-Tim Robbins was incredibly creepy 4 stars
7/16/99 buddy Wow, great film, much better than that other thriller, Gen Daughter 5 stars
7/11/99 Majawat Well done character film, with a great trick ending. 4 stars
7/10/99 PurityJustBegs A very paranoid and dark thriller! Flawless acting, intelligent story..a superb thriller! 5 stars
7/09/99 Matthew Bartley Very chilling 4 stars
1/05/99 The Dude VERY COOL THRILLER Tim Robbins is fucking great. 5 stars
11/23/98 Johny Mediocre thriller until great ending. Intense direction. 3 stars
11/22/98 Chris Very Intense, Awsome Ending... Go see it. 4 stars
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  09-Jul-1999 (R)
  DVD: 26-Oct-1999



Directed by
  Mark Pellington

Written by
  Ehren Kruger

  Jeff Bridges
  Tim Robbins
  Joan Cusack
  Hope Davis
  Robert Gosset
  Mason Gamblet

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