George Clooney may have directed Suburbicon, but everything about it from the outside looks like a Coen Brothers’ movie who wrote the screenplay laying the foundation for the suburban mystery. The film takes place during 1959 in your average commuter community full of husbands working their day jobs while the wives stay home and take care of the nest. Matt Damon plays an unassuming man named Gardner whose family is taken hostage during a home invasion, which rocks the community. After the tragic event occurs, a mystery starts to unravel as to what really happened that night and who was behind it.
Suburbicon definitely has a Fargo crossed with Blood Simple type of feel, but there is only one problem. George Clooney does a terrible job trying to imitate the Coen Brothers’ unique style and their ability to development troubled and quirky characters. For one thing, the mystery element isn’t much of a surprise as most the film’s actions are telegraphed to the audience leaving little surprises to be had. The first act of Suburbicon is an attention getter and shows promise featuring this all white world of 1950s suburbia and a crime that is terrifying for anyone with a family, but there is nothing inventive in terms of story or plot twists after the violent act happens.
Most of Suburbicon deals with our players reacting to the crime and the unsurprising fallout that occurs. Matt Damon and Julianne Moore do the best they can bringing these troubled suburbanites to life, but they mostly drown in the muddled storylines that have a few subplots that don’t mesh together well at all with the main story. One has to do with an African-American family who moves into the neighborhood, which seems to take away the attention from the real bad things happening on their streets and another involving Oscar Isaacs as a Life Insurance Claims specialist. Suburbicon was a film full of promise with all the creative minds behind the project, but George Clooney really drops the ball directing the Coen’s script delivering a major misfire.
Overall, I give Suburbicon 1.5 out of 4 stars.
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