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
In general, I think the Coens are best when they have full auteur-like control over the tone, dialogue, and direction of a movie. They write clever snappy scripts, but they tend to fall flat for me without their direction. I actually enjoyed the main story for awhile, but every beat was so predictable. Also the storyline about the African American Meyer family, whose presence in white 50s suburbia horrifies the neighbors when they are the most normal people in the neighborhood, feels like it should have been its own movie instead of a subplot. Especially knowing that they were based on a real family does them injustice since we didn't get any character development at all, making it hard to care. Oddly, the Meyer family subplot wasn't in the original Coens' script. You can tell there are the makings of an interesting film just beneath the surface, but that is not what made it to the screen.
The Coen Bros. are probably my favorite screenwriters, so this was a must see for me. Being said, this is just a budget Fargo that was all Clooney'd up. This would have been a better movie if it starred Oscar Isaac as a claims investigator trying to figure out what happened to Matt Damon's wife. He could even be crooked. The way we learned information was so boring an un-cinematic.
Clooney has fallen a long way from Good Night and Good Luck. It's a good thing he was already selected for an AFI Life Achievement award before this was released.
I give it 3/10 for great acting which was, alas, to no avail, and good cinematography.
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