Suburbicon (2017)

suburbicon

Director:George Clooney
Produced by:George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Joel Silver, Teddy Schwarzman
Writer(s):Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov

 

Suburbicon is a very disappointing film. On paper it looks great with George Clooney directing Matt Damon in a film script originally written by the Coen Brothers and reworked by Cooney and his collaborator Grant Heslov.  Clooney and the Coens have had some big hits  with O Brother, Where Art Thou? to Intolerable CrueltyBurn After Reading, and Hail, Caesar! so the benchmark is set high It is billed as a dark comedy set in a 50s surburb. We are promised another look at the dark underbelly of middle-class America – a popular theme in Hollywood done much better in Blue Velvet.

There are two strands to the plot. First a murder mystery and second opposition to a black family moving in. How the two are connected is unclear and that is just one of the problems of the film.

The murder mystery around the Lodge family (Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Noah Jupe) and  is very predictable.  Jupe as the son of the family stands out.  Oscar Isaac also deserves a mention for a great performance as an Insurance Investigator.

The characters of the black family under siege, the Mayerses (Leith M. Burke, Karimah Westbrook and Tony Espinosa) are not developed. It’s said that the basis is the real-life case, that of the Myers family, who arrived in Levittown, Pennsylvania, in 1957 but there is no feeling of truth or reality to the tale told in Suburbicon.

There are very few times when the script makes you really unsettled and delivers the kind of chills that would raise it above the mundane. Only, at times, when Lodge Snr is justifying himself to his son does it hit the right note. Little wonder then that Suburbicon did not do as well as expected at the box office and was, in the main, a critical flop.

Reviewed by Patrick Harrington

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