Suburbicon (2017)

Director: George Clooney
Writer: Joel CoenEthan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Cast: Matt Damon, Julianne MooreOscar IsaacNoah JupeTony EspinosaKarimah Westbrook, Leith M. Burke, Richard Kind, Steve Monroe
Seen on: 20.11.2017

Suburbicon is a picture-perfect 1950s community, filled with happy, white, affluent, nuclear families. But then the Mayers (Kamirah Westbrook, Tony Espinosa, Leith M. Burke) move to Suburbicon. They are black and their arrival brings Suburbicon’s facade to crumble, exposing the community’s racism. Their next-door neighbor Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) has other issues, though: he, his wife Rose (Julianne Moore), her twin sister Margaret (Julianne Moore), and their son Nicky (Noah Jupe) are being robbed in their own home, with dire consequences. But that’s only the beginning of the troubles in Suburbicon.

I found Suburbicon pretty disappointing. I thought that it would be about racism, but it revolves much more around the Lodges and their story. And that story does have a Coen-esque feel, but one that doesn’t quite come together.

Suburbicon feels a bit like a leftover meal. The parts of the meal are rather tasty taken on their own, but of some things, there isn’t enough left to satisfy and some of the ingredients just don’t really mesh, making the entire meal awkward and leaving you hungry in the end. I can see why the Coen brothers didn’t make their own film from that script: it feels more like an abandoned (because it just didn’t entirely work) project that they had lying around and that they let Clooney have because they didn’t want to deal with it anymore anyway.

So, we have a film that pretends to be about racism – showing that the white people quickly take up pitchforks against the black family who are perfectly nice, while their next-door neighbors are completely corrupt, which doesn’t bother anyone because they’re white – but sidelines the black characters completely and is all about the white people. The film barely spends any time with the Mayers. Instead it’s all about Gardner Lodge and his standard black-comedy-everything-goes-wrong-with-crime story.

I mostly watched the film for Julianne Moore, who has a double role. But that turned out to be disappointing as well. For one, having her twice in the film was absolutely wasted by it. The things they could have done! And secondly, and much more gravely, Rose is disabled, meaning that we get another instance of cripping up and PEOPLE JUST STOP IT. Let disabled people play disabled people, for the love of all that’s good. Even apart from the cripping up, how they dealt with the disability was not so great.

I gradually lost interest in the film and at some point, I had run out of it completely, neither caring about the stories nor the characters anymore. I spent the rest of the film just waiting for it to be over.

Summarizing: you can totally skip it.

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