A group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they've left the battlefield.
Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.
In the bosom of Suburbicon, a family-centred, all-white utopia of manicured lawns and friendly locals, a simmering tension is brewing, as the first African-American family moves in the idyllic community, in the hot summer of 1959. However, as the patriarch Gardner Lodge and his family start catching a few disturbing glimpses of the once welcoming neighbourhood's dark underbelly, acts of unprecedented violence paired with a gruesome death will inevitably blemish Suburbicon's picture-perfect facade. Who would have thought that darkness resides even in Paradise? Written by
George Clooney screened this film for famed television writer/producer Norman Lear, no stranger to projects tackling explosive or controversial themes like his series All in the Family. After viewing the movie, Lear told Clooney "This is the angriest film I've ever seen." See more »
The blood on Gardner's face/shirt changes. See more »
George Clooney's latest directorial effort, overflows with Oscar-level talent both on camera and off. A quick glance at the credits list on IMDb would make moviegoers flush with excitement. But sadly, Suburbicon is one of those cases in which a movie with a loaded cast teamed with a star director and writers turns out awkwardly, embarrassingly wrong. It's unfunny, ill-fitting, frustrating, pretentious, tone deaf and abysmal. In other words, this movie is a disaster.
In addition to Clooney directing and the Coen brothers writing, the movie features the tremendously talented Julianne Moore and Matt Damon, who both feel like they're going through the motions of a walk-through day at practice. The stoicism of Moore and Damon's dorky dimwitted schtick both feel tiredbeen there done that. Given the limitations bestowed on them and their stiff characters, their half-hearted efforts are understandable, but nonetheless disappointing.
Suburbicon's greatest flaw is its mismatched identity. It doesn't know what it wants to be. Attempting to weld together two incompatible story lines, it throws the audience for a loop. Is it a socially conscious tale of racial mistreatment with the backdrop of a "perfect" all-white 1950s neighborhood, or is it a satirical Fargo-like family scam gone darkly and comically awry? A movie can't be both, so it succeeds at neither. Simply put, it just doesn't work.
Clooney and Coen brothers have produced sweet music on past projects, but they have different goals here. The Coens provide a zany violent spice as Clooney strives for an earnest political commentary zest. The combination leaves the movie with an incongruous and unpleasant flavor.
Mercifully, there are a few highlights. The consistently excellent Oscar Isaac provides a charming liveliness and the promising young Noah Jupe delivers a helping of humanity to a movie that is mostly starved of decency.
Alongside the scam family's disarray, a more disturbing story takes place as the town's first black family arrives (remember, this is the 1950s). The quiet and respectable family is tormented, subtly at first, rapidly escalating to a mob scene complete with violence, vandalism and fire. What is this disgusting side story doing in the movie? What purpose does it serve? Seemingly none. It's condescending and obnoxious. The father of the tormented family doesn't even receive a single speaking line. This story's inclusion a clumsy attempt to depict racism that uses the black actors as mere showpieces, rather than meaningful, developed characters.
The racial subplot is so vague and shallow that it winds up feeling empty. The rest of the movie isn't much different. This movie was not worth any of these stars' time and it's certainly not worth yours.
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