Widowed college lecturer Jeff Bridges thinks that his nice new neighbour Tim Robbins is planning a terrorist attack.
The further he delves into Robbins’ past, the more suspicious he becomes – but is Bridges just being paranoid?
Right until the end, the film keeps us guessing as to what is really happening. Is it about Bridges reading too much into circumstantial evidence, or about his not reading enough?
That’s the crucial, teasing question in a smouldering storyline that starts to become very far-fetched in the middle, but then almost out of nowhere pulls off a devastatingly perfect twist with one of cinema’s all-time great endings.
Bridges’ sweaty performance makes it all seem real, while Robbins’ poker face is unreadable almost through to the end. Joan Cusack, as Robbins’ genial wife, also makes her mark with her part in one of the movie’s cruellest surprises.
Intelligent, sophisticated and full of edgy suspense, this is a conspiracy theory to savour.