A review by Mike Shea Movie Rating: ( * * · · · ) DVD Rating: ( * * * * * )
Arlington Road is for the most part a movie you have seen before a hundred times. It has a very strong and hard core introduction (the intro credits were done by the same guy who did the Nine Inch Nails introduction to Seven), but then begins to turn into the same old story. You get the basic idiot plot of one man trying to figure out a terrorist plot but instead of going to the authorities, he drives away his girlfriend with his zany theories. We have a lot of tired family situations and a lot of relationship drama that would be better left to Julia Roberts movies. Then all of a sudden, in two scenes, this movie proves it has one thing that stands it apart from the typical Hollywood shlock. Balls. It is rare to see a movie with real guts. A movie that is willing to drive an audience away in order to really make a name for itself as something different and something powerful. To be honest, it was the saving grace for this movie. If it hadn't decided to go outside the typical shell a little bit, we would have had our typical mad man chasing shadows while a large conspiracy attempts to destroy our way of life. It has car chases, parent child arguments over camp, jumpy entrances by a sinister Tim Robbins, a lot of groggy stumbling by Jeff Bridges who does his best work as a groggy stumbly guy (aka, The Big Lebowski). There are late night microfiche readings, pull out the old Yearbook to discover he isn't who he says he is and even "HARRY! They are going to blow up the Building!!!" "Whoa whoa whoa, what are you saying?". But in the end this is still a good movie for the sheer fact that it has a pair. I can't imagine how they got it produced, but here it is. The DVD has an excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a 16x9 enhanced 2.35 to 1 picture. There is a commentary with Jeff Bridges and the director as well. Overall, this movie would have been a one, but I think it is important that we give these fearless writers and directors a little bit of praise when they are willing to go outside the bounds of normal movies so I give it a two.