Sunday, December 05, 2010

*Not Ready For Prime Time Class Struggle- In Search Of Home-Grown Terrorists- “Arlington Road”- A Film Review

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of the movie trailer for Arlington Road.

DVD Review

Arlington Road, starring Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins, 1999

I have been on something of a tear lately in the wake of Jeff Bridges’ Oscar victory this year for his portrayal of broken-down country singer/songwriter Bad Blake in the film Crazy Hearts. In my previous reviews my main premise had been that there was a strong thread running through many of Bridges’ performances that harked back to his role as future good old boy, Duane Jackson, in the classic Texas-based coming of age film The Last Picture Show and that culminated in Crazy Hearts.

This film, Arlington Road, speaks to another thread, the intrepid, if sometimes foolhardy warrior prince fighting against evil (or at least the unknown). A previous well-known example was Blow-Up where he held off the Irish Republican Army (IRA) single-handedly (well, one agent in Boston anyway). This political thriller filled a niche after the tragic Oklahoma City bombings by native terrorists and before the axis shifted to 9/11 type foreign-based acts of terror. Thus, the notion to put a microscope to view a small but extensively-engaged proto-survivalist right wing-conspiracy against the federal (or state for that matter) government for some grievances had a certain timeliness then.

Bridges, as an undaunted professor, out to solve some baffling mystery (and also as a grieving victim of a governmental screw-up which killed his wife) that has cropped up and ensnared him in its web and Tim Robbins as the avenger bad angel and ensnarer battle this one out. Not Bridges' best performance because he is just too manic (and the script is a little too politically heavy-handed and obvious) in the end but kind of an interesting period piece just the same. The nuts are always with us, on film and in real life.

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