Thursday, November 9, 2017
½★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki
How does a film that looks so amazing & brilliantly funny in the trailer actually become an unfocused & unfunny mess?
That's the question I asked myself at the end of Suburbicon, the year's most disappointing film. Set in 1959, the film follows Gardner Lodge (played by Matt Damon), a mild-mannered husband to Rose (played by Julianne Moore) & father to Nicky (played by Noah Jupe). They live in Suburbicon, a subdivision based off of the Levittown subdivision.
One night, while Rose's sister Margaret (also played by Julianne Moore) is at the house, two robbers break into the house, tie up the family, & knock them out with chloroform. When they wake up, they realize Rose died after being given a large dose of chloroform.
In order to help, Margaret moves in with Gardner & Nicky to help them out. While this occurs, an African-American family, the Meyers family, moves into Suburbicon (based on the real-life Meyers family who moved into Levittown in the 1950s), causing racial tension to build. The Lodge family is completely oblivious to this. But when insurance agent Bud Cooper (played by Oscar Isaac) becomes involved, everyone is sent into a twisted world they'll never get out of.
The performances are mediocre. Damon & Moore aren't that great, but they did the best they could with the script. However, Oscar Isaac, in his short screentime, is absolutely mesmerizing.
George Clooney's direction is awful. He can't juggle the two plotlines at all, proving that he isn't as good at directing as he is at acting.
The screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney & Grant Heslov is an absolute dumpster fire. Originally written by the Coen brothers in 1986 before being shelved, Clooney & Heslov re-wrote it, adding the racial tension subplot. And this is Suburbicon's fatal flaw: a subplot that doesn't factor into the plot at all, & almost doesn't even exist in the film. Even without the racial tension subplot, the script is a mess, as the darkly funny moments aren't funny at all. As far as the Coen brothers go, this is like most of the films they wrote but didn't direct (except for Bridge of Spies): awful.
And the editing by Stephen Mirrione is horrible. His attempts to weave together the two plotlines fail miserably, as the 105-minute runtime isn't enough time to give due diligence to them.
This is one of the worst films of the year. It's an absolute mess, & because of the people that were involved in the film, I was extremely disappointed, as I expected a lot more from them.
Suburbicon was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Saturday, October 28, 2017. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 105 minutes, & is rated R for violence, language & some sexuality.