Reviewed by: Ken James
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.
Year of Release—1999