Projections - Movie Reviews

Arlington Road

Before our eyes, Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) twists and turns in heart stopping, mind twisting, gut wrenching situations caused by Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins), a next door neighbor who should be avoided.

Director Mark Pellington, using a spectacular screen play by Ehren Kruger, forms a taught powerful tension filled thriller.  This is the best film so far this year.  The screen play is meticulously perfect as it draws us into the web of fear and paranoia facing Faraday.  His wife, a former FBI agent, was killed on duty two years before. He teaches a terrorism course and is beginning to suspect the very friendly Cheryl (Joan Cusack) and Oliver Lang are not the perfect American couple they appear to be.

Pellington uses dark shadows, partial black screens, bright blue eyes, middle aged eyes with half glasses, sounds that wrench us from our seats, and camera settings that mask reality revealing just enough to keep us groping for the truth.  His work is brilliant and compelling.

Cusack is perfect.  She and Robbins pose as the American Gothic family of the nineties in front of their middle class, brick abundant Virginia home.  Hope Davis, a former teaching assistant, joins the fray as Faraday's lover and calming voice.

The mystery is credible for the strained characters.  Each scene brings new questions.  The major one being: is Faraday paranoid or does his research into Lang's past reveal a serious danger. Could it be part of the mistrust and the veil of privacy neighbors create behind their back yard fences?  As we watch the chase we are blinded to the clues which lead to the spectacular, brilliant twist which we should have expected.

Look for Academy award nominations for this tense, stunning and astonishing film.

Arlington Road


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