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This Was Just Not Good
trublu21514 September 2017
I'm a huge fan of the Coen Brothers. To me, cinema doesn't get much better than No Country for Old Men or Burn After Reading or Raising get the idea. So when I heard that George Clooney was directing their next original script, naturally I couldn't wait to see it. Fast track a year and a half later and here we are. Clooney proved to me that it takes much more than a Coen Bros script to make it a Coen Bros film. Suburbicon is one of the few films that will come about where the talent attached to the project is so overwhelming and plentiful but the final product is so mediocre and bordering on bad that it leaves you scratching your head.

The film is very beautiful to start off. The cinematography is very crisp and extremely colorful which makes the setting of the 50s suburbs seemingly pop even more so. The production design and basically anything of a technical aspect is amazingly done here by traditional standards. So why is Suburbicon falling flat? Very simple: Clooney is woefully unqualified to direct a Coen Bros script as are most people. This feels like it was made by someone who watched Fargo and Burn After Reading a dozen times and decided to make this. It feels like it is an imitation and, by the end of the film, that is all it turns out to be. The cast is even really dull despite a fantastic performance from Julianne Moore. Damon can't decide whether to play it funny or serious and that really plays a big part in the violence of the film. It is comically set up but brutally executed. It doesn't feel right at all and it makes for a very tough watch.

Overall, Suburbicon is a film that will probably leave your mind as quickly as it came. It is a very forgettable film. It is a frustrating piece of cinema as well because we will always be left with the thoughts of what could have been. With the level of talent and star power, Suburbicon has no business being as dull and ragged as it is especially because in a technical sense, the film is great. But with Clooney's misguided direction and Matt Damon's very erratic performance, Suburbicon is a miss of the most disappointing fashion.
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The Coens Never Needed The Clooney
Warning: Spoilers
It may have seemed logical before, but now there's genuine proof that a Coen Brothers movie has to be both written and directed by Joel and Ethan so that the dark comedy seems genuine, palpable, and not one bit contrived...

But their own personal Cary Grant in George Clooney, the star of a few less inspired installments after the bro's last true classic, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, has, as director and co-writer, made his very own "Coen Brothers" experience taking place in a 1950's Suburban community called, simply enough, SUBURBICON, a misleading paradise with postcard-perfect houses and manicured lawns belonging to one-dimensional neighbors, all of them white... Save for the black family that just moved in... a husband, wife and child suffering through chanting protests right outside their living room window, and for absolutely zero reason plot-wise except to further prove how hypnotically racist, soulless and Stepford-like Caucasians were back then...

But even this chanting mob is merely a background distraction for a pointless fable centering on who seems to be the most open-minded neighbor, living with his aunt and son after wife/mom was killed in an opening scene that plays out like IN COLD BLOOD on downers... Which the main character, Matt Damon, seems to have overdosed on: With zero personality he's hardly a person to either root for as a hero or follow as a pawn through this sluggish maze without corners.

Despite a few quirky Coen elements, SUBURBICON goes absolutely nowhere, slowly. The location is supposed to mean everything, and does look old-new and genuinely nostalgic, but it's eye candy without a main course. Plus there's a particularly loud, awkward silence throughout: difficult to explain except that it occurs when a movie has no point or purpose, urgency or destination...

Unlike a real Coen's film, the moments that don't serve the plot aren't intriguing/engrossing as a character-study while these characters, white or black, drive absolutely nothing. The best thing is the relatively short run time. Plus there's an inevitable yet still somewhat intriguing primal twist that could've given Matt Damon's middle-aged sad-sack a touch of TALENTED MR. RIPLEY but... no dice.

Not even Coen stock trouper Julianne Moore has anything more to give than dull stares in the 4.8 IMDb-rated abyss that, like THE MONUMENTS MEN, proves Clooney is more beloved within the "progressive" bowels of Hollywood than a mainstream audience: anyone else would be banned from filmmaking. As an actor (HAIL CAESAR) and a director, he should just stay away from the Coens... Especially in this case, tacking-on an overblown social message to what was (most likely) a Noir-inspired tale of murder and mayhem. Let's face it... George is so politically motivated, he simply can't have any fun. To paraphrase the mortician's request to Don Corleone in THE GODFATHER... He wants us to suffer, like they suffered.
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Glad the ticket was free, wish I got paid to endure it though.
chris akin24 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
OK, I just got out of the advanced screening of this movie, I saw the IMDb ratings drop a few points in the time it took me to drive home. I can't blame the voters. In fact, as we were leaving the staff asked if we had any comments about the movie, I winced as if in pain, my buddy was perplexed, and the guy in front of us said and I quote, "Don't make a part two."

This movie should not hit theaters, maybe go to cable t.v. On a boring Tuesday night when nothing else is on.

Now, I put the spoiler warning and I bet you are wondering what the movie was about. Well, that is how you feel in the movie. The plot takes forever to kick in.

The quick run through, 1950's/60's suburbia (can catch that in the name) black family moves in the town. Town goes in an uproar, someone breaks into Matt Damon's house kills his wife.

Yes, there is zero correlation between the black family moving in and Matt Damon's wife getting murdered. In fact, you watch the movie and you will see the black family actually plays no significant part in the movie, they are just there for filler and to politicize the movie.

So now the wife is dead and you are wondering why. You actually spent the first half of the movie wondering why. Spoiler, life insurance scam.

Matt falls in love with his wife's sister, Matt hires hit-man, hit- man kill wife, Now the hit-man want their money, the life insurance company sees through the scam. People start dying, and the credits begin rolling.

You have no connection to the characters on the screen, you try to feel bad for the kid in the movie, but he is so emotionless you can't really feel bad for him. It makes it even more difficult to feel bad when your brain is confused because the writers/actors/director can't decide if they want the movie to be funny or serious. In fact the only person I thought was even remotely interesting was Uncle Mitch, but he only has about 2 minutes of screen time.

If I could speed summarize this movie, I would almost want to call it a murder mystery with a men who stare at goats twist, but it doesn't really click with whatever this movie was.

Rated 2 because the acting was decent at least.
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Deeply Disappointing
glavonnetay27 October 2017
Full of unresolved conflicts and senseless scenarios. Drags along with no payoff on any level. One of the main issues throughout this movie was never hinted at in previews I saw. Had I known this topic would be so pervasive, I'd had never considered seeing this movie.

Potential for a good movie was lost by failure to bother tying in, resolving, explaining, or reconciling any of the multiple story-lines. I could find no redeeming qualities in this movie. Moreover, it's an unforgivable waste of Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and my time.
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How Bad Could it Be?
prisberg-4071827 October 2017
Let me start by saying I love movies, I love Coen Bros, Wes Anderson style cinema. My family has watched at least 2 Coen Brothers movies each holiday season for many years. We quote lines literally, all of the time. Suberbicon is so slow, so meaningless, so gratuitous, that it is actually confusing to me as to why Matt Damon and George Clooney would have consented to the screenplay. Do the Coens now possess such cult like power that they can make a movie this bad, with great actors who must just shrug and say, "It must be great. otherwise the Coens would not film it"

Why is it so bad? It is slow, not funny or satirical, but sad and predictable, with dialogue straight out of a Marvel Comic book, and character development to match. Walking out of the theater, the comments were far more interesting than the movie. My favorite, a simple loud booo when the credits started to roll. Clearly, the worst effort the Coen Brothers have hatched.
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A Clash Of Too Many Tones
KJ Proulx25 September 2017
I'm all for unique and different when it comes to filmmaking, but when a unique film doesn't do anything to intrigue its audience, aside from a consistent tone and setting, then it's not really all that impressive in the end. Suburbicon is George Clooney's latest attempt at direction, and I feel pretty much the same about this film as I did about many of his other works. A tone, story, and time period is all set up, but the way each of his films play out have seemed to leave a lot to be desired in my opinion. That is once again the case with Suburbicon, being a little too confident in itself when it came to presenting a powerful story. Here is why I think you could probably skip this one in theatres, but the effort put into it may warrant a rental if you're looking for something new to watch.

Gardner's family is tested when a group of men invade his home, killing his wife and leaving only his son and sister-in-law alive. Falling for his wife's sister and becoming a complete psychotic and uncontrollable man, this film quickly spirals out of control into a farce of random occurrences. Throughout the first act of this film, it seems like it's going to be a satire that won't hold anything back in terms of wackiness, but that's very quickly thrown out the window, compensating with many subplots of murder and conspiracy. I found myself taken out of the film when the tone would shift this often, making for a very off-putting viewing experience.

Throughout the majority of this film, you're asked to accept the horrible things that the main characters are doing, or just connect with Gardner's young boy on an emotional level, but he's not quite present enough in my opinion. Not until the third act do you really fin yourself caring about some of the characters, which was too late for me. This movie tries far too hard to be clever, funny, and surprising, that it just comes off as forced more often than not. You will find yourself along for a ride of random events and you won't really know who to root for.

I may seem to be ripping this film apart for being un even, but for throughout all its flaws, there are actually quite a few great aspects, especially the sequence involving an appearance by Oscar Isaac. There is a lengthy scene when secrets are revealed and characters begin to evolve and Oscar Isaac elevated every moment of this portion of the film. Up until that point, there really weren't any characters to grasp onto, but the environment around them, along with the sets and the score, always helped to make the film feel more authentic than what its screenplay was presenting. This may sound confusing, but that's due to the fact that this is a very confusing watch, and I feel that many people will agree with me on that account.

From being written by Joel and Ethan Coen (who's recent track record hasn't really impressed me recently), to being competently directed by George Clooney, to having racial undertones to help give the film depth, to showcasing some great moments of comedy, Suburbicon just feels like a huge missed opportunity, due to the talent involved. Matt Damon and Julianne Moore deliver solid performances here and the score by Alexandre Desplat is definitely what sucked me into this movie, even throughout the moments that annoyed me. In the end, I feel as though the positives slightly outweigh the negatives, so I can generously give it a pass. This is about as average as you can get in terms of having a clever setting and premise, only to never fully deliver on either front. Suburbicon isn't quite worth seeing in theatres, but it may please hardcore fans of the Coen brother's past work.
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It's a Misguided, Mismatched Disaster
jared-andrews235728 October 2017
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 tired—been 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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They tried but failed...
mikipryor-123 October 2017
This was just awful.... tiresome, predictable and boring. I wanted to love it, but there was nothing to even like. Top talent in every category but it fell flat, like a soufflé that did not rise. Satire should be funny, but there were few laughs. Irony may be too sophisticated to pull in an audience. It felt like something was just off - timing? Editing? It dragged on and on without reason. So sad, it coulda been a contender.
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A badly written propaganda piece disguised as "entertainment"
jmerlin-452-22883328 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Something important to note is that trailers of this film completely mislead the viewer. The previews like to pretend like there's some kind of story here, but in reality there is no story. You're being sold mostly anti-white anti-"alt-right" propaganda thinly veiled as "entertainment." There is no direction here. I wish I could blame this on one person, but there's little in this movie that wasn't awful. Nothing of it is salvageable. If you are thinking of watching this because you watched a trailer, don't. You're being sold something that doesn't exist.

The part of the story involving Gardner's plot to murder his wife and run off with his lover and the insurance money is full of loose threads and completely transparent plot devices (the uncle, for instance). Overall it's very badly written and nonsensical. What this movie seems to be, primarily, is an exaggerated and excessively pessimistic view of the 1950s, particularly the so-called "white flight." The ultimate claim of the movie is that this town, Suburbicon, is so obsessed with their own racism that even the most horrendous acts of crime you can imagine committed by whites are ignored compared to the presence of a single black family moving into town.

As part of this movie, Suburbicon is a town created by whites for whites to get away from blacks during the civil rights movement when integration began being forced by the government. The movie is full of pot shots taken at this, and full of overt acts of racism hidden behind masks of "I'm not racist", including a scene at a market where just because a woman is black she is effectively forbidden from shopping, a scene which does not have any impact on any other part of the movie, further telling us just exactly what this movie is. When by all appearances an upstanding black family moves into town, everyone seems outraged. A murder happens next door to this black family, yet receives almost no media attention, and there are no real witnesses despite there being plenty of people gathered around the black family's home. Later, there is a murder on the street next to a riot at the black family's home, mere feet away from hundreds of people and multiple police officers (who all remain oblivious), followed by a man breaking in, murdering Gardner's lover, stabbing Gardner's brother in law who then manages to shoot the murderer twice, followed by Gardner accidentally killing himself. In addition to this, the other killer dies in head-on a collision with a fire truck. The next day, the press is gathered around the black family's home, showing the damage of the previous night's riot: a burned car, trash cans, and a broken window with a confederate flag hung in it (the ultimate virtue signal there, Hollywood, thanks for that). The press does not interview the black family, but a bunch of white residents of homes nearby, and they place blame for everything that has happened on the black family's arrival. No real questions of the things that went down the night before just next door are asked.

I get what this movie was. The real story was the view of the 1950s, meant as a modern-day critique of white nationalists by exaggerating the negative parts of the country's past. That's why the story involving Gardner is so absurd and full of holes, it's not meant to matter. That's why this movie is sold as something completely different from what it is. This racism angle is not present in the trailers. The movie you're expecting is the one involving Gardner. You were fooled into watching poorly written and even more poorly executed propaganda against the history of the US and the modern day alt-right. The alt-right is a fringe minority that disagrees with the center left, right, libertarians, progressives, and even hardcore conservatives. This is an unwanted screed against a group that garners no mainstream support. It's hardly a film. Do not watch this utter crap. It's not entertaining, and if I wanted progressive propaganda, I'd just turn on CNN or watch Vox/BuzzFeed videos on YouTube.

This is why Hollywood is in decline. I can't even believe anyone put their name on this steaming pile of garbage. The direction was bad. The editing was bad. The writing was bad. The story.. well there is no story. The acting wasn't even good considering the talent involved. Just.. no. There is nothing here you want. Nothing. If you have a ticket, get a refund.
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Horrible, awful movie
nathan-5252127 October 2017
Wow, this movie is some kind of horrible ode to social justice warrior wannabees everywhere. It was full of ridiculous race baiting and made very little sense. It even had a scene with a confederate flag in it... *face palm* I'm surprised it didn't cameo members of Antifa. This film was total tripe; avoid at all costs.
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