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Comparing Arlington Road And Rear Window

1174 words - 5 pages

It is a concurrent agreement in the film industry that Alfred Hitchcock is nothing less than a legend when it comes to the suspense and thriller genres of film. That being said, many filmmakers unsurprisingly aspire to adopt his style in more recent films. Movie critique Andrew O’Hehir suspects that this is the case with Mark Pellington’s production, Arlington Road, which follows the story of a man taken with the idea that his neighbors are terrorists. Although Pellington’s production possesses distinctively Hitchcock-styled qualities in its editing, storyline, and themes, O’Hehir argues that it is “…ultimately just another maddeningly ill-conceived tribute placed at [Hitchcock’s] feet.” However, it cannot be determined if Pellington meant for Arlington Road to be a tribute at all. The film may have a multitude of resemblances to Hitchcock film, but its finale fundamentally distinguishes itself unique to O’Hehir’s assumption.
The first, most visually established element in Arlington Road that likens itself to the films of Hitchcock is the editing style. From the opening scene, a suspenseful soundtrack paired with images of a stumbling child dripping blood that something is amiss, while the unsuspecting protagonist, Michael Faraday, drives up in complete ignorance. This technique in which the audience is exposed to fatal details detained from the protagonist is typical of Hitchcock films, as seen in works such as Psycho, where an unaware young woman takes a shower while the audience watches an approaching murderer helplessly. Another example can be taken from Rear Window, in which Lisa Fremont breaks into the believed murderer’s apartment to gain evidence, entirely oblivious to his return. Again, this tactic, often recognized as “dramatic irony” in the literary world, is portrayed in Arlington Road, particularly in the instance in which the audience is made aware that the very couple Faraday seeks solace from after being informed of his girlfriend Brooke's death are the same people who killed her. Other editing tactics which familiarize Pellington’s film to Hitchcock’s is the frequent point of view/reaction technique. This particular method is impossible to miss in Hitchcock's Rear Window as the entire movie is built around one character’s perspective, so the audience is constantly watching the protagonist’s reaction to everything he sees. Similarly, in Arlington Road, we see Faraday’s perspectives and reactions (while in a far more moderated amount) as he makes discoveries and realizations about his neighbor, particularly in the scene where he sneaks into Oliver Lang’s office and notices the crumpled edge to a blueprint on the wall, as well as the shot in which he catches the picture of the scout troopers sitting on the desk of the professor he visits.
Furthermore, Arlington Road emulates a similar story structures and character archetypes to that of Hitchcock’s films. While less obvious in Rear Window, Hitchcock enjoys introducing...

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