|Index||4 reviews in total|
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
Arizona...you 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.
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.
I tagged along at the last minute to the Venice Film Festival. This was one of the films we were able to see on short notice. Sorry to say, I was underwhelmed. I love Matt, and he was brilliantly scary, but the story line, even though I knew it was satire, seemed like it was trying too hard to be more than just entertainment. But all was not lost, I loved The Shape of Water, and absolutely adored Charlie Plummer in Lean on Pete.
World Premiere at 2017 Venice film festival.
George Clooney has outdone himself with a superb satire of middle American suburbia in 1959. But there are résonances of relevance to the America of today as well. Matt Damon, all but unrecognizable except for the nose, disappears into the skin of a pudgy middle class middle American psychopath on a murderous death insurance scam with sister-in-jaw Julianne Moore, true to life as ever as his partner in crime. Best scene of many good ones cleverly linked is the unwelcome visit of scumbag insurance claim adjuster Oscar Isaac (the Armenian hero of The Promise) "sniffing out" improprieties in the claim on deceased sister who was actually murdered before the film began. Sparkling dialogue between Isaac and Moore and the subtle gathering of tension building to a blowup make this the most memorable single scene in this spine tingling thriller. An ongoing subtext of the film is the surrealistic rampant racism of the local populace when a nice middle class Afro-American family moves in to this lily white community. Kudos also to juvenile actor Noah Jupe as the terrorized child who is a pawn in all the complex familial machinations after his mother is snuffed and a central figure of the intrigue. Coen Bros. collaboration on the script may account for some of the hairiness and over-the-topness of the action but, overall Suburbicon is an absolute winner all around that transports Mr. Clooney to the next level of savvy film directorship. Bravo. PS: Beefed up bespectacled Matt Damon may be heading for another Oscar nomination with this radical departure from his hitherto clean scrubbed heroic images.
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