Movie Review: Suburbicon
Suburbicon is a crime comedy directed by George Clooney and written by the Coen brothers, Clooney, and Grant Heslov. It premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in September of this year and received a wide release over the weekend. The story follows the idyllic town of Suburbicon in the late 1950’s as the town is shaken by some new arrivals and a murder. The film starred Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, and the supporting cast featured Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe, and Glenn Fleshler.
The film begins with a 1950’s style of advertisement for the town of Suburbicon. The advertisement claims to accept residents from all different states and areas, but as the advertisement ends, an African American family is moving into the neighborhood. Those supposed feelings of acceptance are discarded as the other residents complain and protest their presence, pressuring the family to leave. Meanwhile, Gardner Lodge (Damon) and his family are attacked in their home by two robbers. Each member of the family is tied up, and by the end of the evening, Gardner’s wife, Rose, is killed. Rose’s twin sister, Margaret (Moore), decides to stay to help the family during this time and offer some support for Gardner’s son, Nicky (Jupe). However, between the new neighbors and the culprits not being arrested, the true character of those living in Suburbicon will be revealed.
This film is unfortunately not at all what I felt like the trailers presented. From the trailer, I expected to see some kind of theme about revenge after the death of Gardner’s wife, yet that’s not how the story played out. Also, while I was expecting some satire and some commentary through this 1950’s setting, this too was not at all what I pictured. They introduce this theme of race from the very beginning, but outside of showing the escalation of harassment, I don’t feel like they wrapped up that part of the tale. They also had something of a murder mystery happening amongst the satire, and all in all, it felt like a couple of different movies squeezed together into one incoherent one.
As far as performances go, I think the standout is Noah Jupe, who plays Gardner’s son, Nicky. For such an odd movie, his character is precious. He befriends the African American couple’s son, Andy, and while Nicky is quiet, he is certainly a smart kid. Jupe does an excellent job portraying the character and delivers on some intense and emotional moments. Oscar Isaac is also a standout as Bud Cooper, and while he’s probably only in the movie for about fifteen minutes, he captures the audience’s attention every moment that he is on screen. Damon and Moore’s performances were fine, but with the story structured the way it was, they were not the most alluring characters.
Overall, I would just say that Suburbicon is an odd film. I figured out the plot twist within the first twenty minutes of the film, and most of the characters were not likable in any way. Also, I think they tried to pack too much into the movie, which is why it doesn’t really mesh well. I’m sure there is some kind of commentary about appearances being deceiving and about the niceties of society, but to be honest, the sequencing was so messy that it was hard to follow any one of those thoughts. I’m usually a fan of the Coen brothers’ quirky storylines, but I’m afraid this is one that I did not enjoy much. Suburbicon is already being considered a box office flop, and I suggest that you spend your movie money on a more worthy title.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.