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Arlington Road – 1999 Pellington
- Arlington Road is an impressive little terrorism thriller featuring Jeff Bridges (one year off Big Lebowski) pitted against an eerie Tim Robbins.
- Mark Pellington is the director. Pellington is best known for music videos by Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and others.
- Pellington opens the film with great energy. Before the opening credits, Bridges (playing Michael Faraday) discovers the son of Robbins’ character (Oliver Lang) in the middle of the street in immense pain from a fireworks accident. Pellington uses a washed-out dissolve heavy soft focus for this sequence (above).
- The Faradays and Langs are neighbors. The sons and fathers become friends. Faraday’s suspicions of Lang mount as the film progresses.
- Ehren Kruger’s screenplay is a sort of riff on a Hitchcock wrong man (39 Steps, maybe Saboteur) with a terrorism layer.
- Pellington uses two composers- the great Angelo Badalamenti (David Lynch’s main collaborator) and supplements it with another one from tomandandy.
- In one particularly outstanding scene, Bridges’ character is investigating old yearbooks of Lang to discover a disturbing looking Robbins.
- At the 46-minute mark, Pellington captures Bridges’ character alone through a doorway frame within a frame draped in shadows—showing his isolation.
- Bridges cuts loose a bit here- he plays Faraday as a man in mourning, frayed, coming apart over the course of the film’s action.
- Nice, slow motion dutch angle shots at the bizarro party of the fundamentalists/terrorists. Sort of a Wicker Man feel to it.
- There is a car crash during the climax on the streets of Washington DC that looks real- because it was real.
- The brilliant twist at the end— a notch or two below The Usual Suspects
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1999.