Friday, October 27, 2017


I really wanted to like director George Clooney's Suburbicon. Sadly, the mix of dark comedy, murder, racial injustice, and social commentary flails about for far too much of its 104-minute running time without ever coming together. Clooney produces an only somewhat interesting film with admittedly intriguing pieces and strong performances, but sadly the film never really clicks.

The original script was written by the Coen Brothers years ago and Clooney and Grant Heslov are credited with changes. Suburbicon feels like a movie with four screenwriters as it struggles with a cohesive story and constant tone, often shifting violently one way or the next until the main plot ultimately kicks in.

Our story takes place in the all-white suburb of Suburbicon where the entire town is distraught over the arrival of the town's first black family and far less interested in the horrific violence happening across the street to Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) and his family when two intruders break in and hold the family hostage. The fallout from that night, and the reveal of what's really going on in Gardner's life, provides most of the tension to follow.

Suburbicon desperately wants to be something as dark, quirky, and memorable as Fargo but fails on pretty much every level. The point of Clooney's film seems to be that the suburbs have all kinds of nastiness hidden beneath the gleam of a clean life away from the troubles of the city. Without any true focus, the film meanders its way along before finally limping to the finish line. The actors all give fine performances of characters who should be inhabiting a better movie, and cinematographer Robert Elswit provides a good-looking film filled with some impressive set design, but the twists and turns of Lodge's life aren't that interesting, the racism subplot never really meshes with the rest of the film, while awkwardly filling time as a B-story, and the only characters who come off as real people are the kids (Noah Jupe and Tony Espinosa) who are mainly witnesses to the insanity around them.

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