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Arlington Road

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Your paranoia is real.

History professor Michael Conroy (Jeff Bridges) begins to suspect that his new neighbour, Oliver (Tim Robbins) may be linked to domestic terrorism and launches his own investigation into his suspicious activities. As the pieces begin to fall into place, he unwittingly puts his loved ones in danger as he zeroes in on the terrorists' next target.

Persons of interest

  • Jeff Bridges .... Michael Faraday
  • Tim Robbins .... Oliver Lang/William Fenimore
  • Joan Cusack .... Cheryl Lang
  • Hope Davis .... Brooke Wolfe
  • Robert Gossett .... FBI Agent Whit Carver
  • Mason Gamble .... Brady Lang
  • Spencer Treat Clark .... Grant Faraday
  • Stanley Anderson .... Doctor Archer Scobee
  • Ehren Kruger .... Screenwriter
  • Mark Pellington .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • Awards and film festivals:
    • Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, USA 2000: Nominated: Saturn award: Best Action/Adventure/Thriller, Best Supporting Actress (Joan Cusack), Best Writer
    • Paris Film Festival 1999: Nominated: Grand prix - Best director
  • FYI: "Arlington" is also the name of a war cemetery in the USA
  • Studios and distributors:

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The scary thing about paranoia is that sometimes it's real, and to add insult to injury, sometimes it's real for all the wrong reasons.

Arlington Road is a conspiracy flick about one man fighting the system where the system is incapable of standing up for justice. It is often the case that the system is an impersonal machine that chews people up and spits them back out. Michael Faraday is one such person. He also exists in the (supposed) ironical state of being someone who teaches other people about the chewing and spitting habits of the beast. I say "supposed" because you should always be careful about using the word "irony" when talking about a Hollywood film. It's probably intended to be ironic but is more likely to be sloppy writing (in that the number of co-incidences that have to occur for a Hollywood hero to do his thing tend to beggar belief - see also Serendipity).

Nonetheless, Jeff Bridges (and Michael Faraday) manages to convince you that his fears (and his paranoia) are real. This is good because it lets you get into the mind of the character and that gives you a better ride. (Films are like rides at the Easter Show: the more you get into it, the more you get out of it.) It also lets you experience the myopia that infects the obsessed. With most films you have the position of watching from over God's shoulder: everything is known. Arlington Road throws that concept out the window and puts you in the position of seeing only from over Michael's shoulder. That's good because it forces you to figure things out with only the same information as he has. Is he drawing the correct conclusions or is he forcing the facts to fit his preconceived ideas? Is he putting his faith in the right people or is he being taken for a ride? Who can he trust?

Despite being more earnest than you'd get from an Australian film, Arlington Road manages to take a boringly ordinary surburban existence and turn it into a scary, passionate conspiracy.

It's good.

Remember the golden rule:

  1. If it happens once, it's an accident.
  2. If it happens twice, it's a coincidence.
  3. If it happens thrice, it's a conspiracy.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen (16:9 enhanced)
  • Special features:
    • Documentaries: Behind-the-scenes
    • Interviews
    • Trailer
  • Subtitles: English

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Medium level violence, low level coarse language, adult themes)

Surveillance time

103 minutes (1:43 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD retail: 22 January 2003
VHS retail: 22 January 2003

Cinema surveillance images

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