Today’s Prayer Focus

Arlington Road

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for violence and some language

Reviewed by: Ken James

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Older Teens
Crime Thriller Drama
1 hr. 57 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 9, 1999
Copyright, Screen Gems click photos to ENLARGE

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Hope Davis, Robert Gossett, Mason Gamble | Director: Mark Pellington | Writer: Ehren Kruger

Waco, Texas. David Koresh. Ruby Ridge. Oklahoma City. Montana Freemen. Anti-government extremists. America is held captive by such people. If not held physically captive, at least mentally and emotionally. “Arlington Road” brings such incidents to life again through the fictional story of one man, Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) and the quest for truth about the past of his new neighbor Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins).

Michael Faraday is an unhappy man who lost his agent wife in a botched FBI incident. He and his nine year old son live together in mostly quiet seclusion. The past is too hard to bring up, so they don’t often talk about it. Faraday’s girlfriend, a former grad student from the university where Faraday teaches classes about American History and Terrorism, doubts his speculations and conclusions about their neighbor. Until she sees something she wasn’t meant to see. Then Michael’s life unravels.

Violence, some scenes involving children, keep this a film not fit for young audiences. Profanity is kept to a surprising minimum. There is no nudity or sexual situations.

“Arlington Road” raises doubts about the American government’s handling in such terrorist or extremist incidents. Does the government report the truth? Or do they tell the American people what they want to hear so they can once again feel safe and secure, knowing the “lone” terrorist is behind bars or deceased. Hmmm. And what about the media—the outlet that is supposed to report facts? Can we trust them? We already know the answer. The disturbing conclusion of “Arlington Road” certainly cast the government and media in an ever-darkening light.

Viewer Comments
Ever watch a movie that redeems itself by being farfetched and oversentimental? Me neither, but believe it or not “Arlington Road” pulls this off. “Arlington Road” won’t win any awards, but stands out from the pack with an original story—don’t give up half way through, the ending is thought provoking. In fact, I’d say a video weekend of “Arlington Road” followed by “JFK” would leave one with a lot to ponder for quite awhile. Not a children’s movie of course, yet “Arlington Road” has few offenses—why can’t more movies pull off a suspense/thriller without steeping to such sick content as is so currently popular? My Ratings: [3/3½]
Todd Adams, age 32
Full of suspense and intrigue. The actors are superb. Tim Robbins plays one of the best understated and quietly menacing characters I have seen. The opening and closing scenes in this movie will grab you and never let go. My Ratings: [3½/4½]