Suburbicon – Film Review

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Dir: George Clooney
Staring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe, Glenn Fleshler, Megan Ferguson, Jack Conley, Gary Basaraba, Michael D. Cohen, Tony Espinosa & Karimah Westbrook
104mins | Drama, Thriller, Crime | 15

*Suburban spoilers follow*

I love the 1950. Well, not the bad parts anyway. I guess we pick and choose what we find favourable from the past. This same view applies to George Clooney’s new film, Suburbicon. I say new, when in fact the script for this film dates from the 1980s, written no less by the Cohen Brothers (with additions by Clooney & Grant Heslov). Mr Smug would be one of rare few who would be granted this honour and so we finally get to see Subrubicon on the big screen.

In the rural suburbs of an unnamed city, the Lodge family are recovering from a car accident, casuing wife and mother Rose (played by Julianne Moore) to lose her mobility. When robbers come to the house, they tie up all the family and kill Rose. Recovering from this grief, there emerges a bizarre chain of events leading to more grief and double bluffs. You may not always see the twists coming, yet you are in alert mode when they do.

It turns out father and husband Gardener (a intense Matt Damon, who we may not feel for really) and his sister-in-law Margaret (also played by Moore, cunning and phony like) were secretly in love and plotted to kill Rose and claim the insurance money. What they didn’t count on was his son, Nicky to be quite clever and the two hit men who did the job to see so sloppy. Nicky unravels all the plans they both had in store and he escapes with his life, though by the skin of his teeth.

Also, our heart go out to Uncle Mitch, played by a loving Gary Basaraba, devoted to the well-being of Nicky. It’s doesn’t end well for Mitch as he attempts to save his nephew and our heart aches as well see him with a literal knife in his back, bloodied and sinking to the floor, by Nicky’s bed. Oscar Isaac as a eagle eyed Insurance worker, have some charming moments, quoting operas and being a chipper guy, only to test the waters and see what is really happening with the Lodges claim is observing viewing. He can see threw Margaret like glass! He might not want to sip that coffee though…

After seeing the film, a few questions linger on. Did Gardener mean to kill Rose in the car crash which made her wheelchair bound? How long were Gardener and Margaret having this sordid affair for and most important of all: what happens to Nicky, now that all his direct family are dead?

The subtle oddball humour of the Cohens live on here. This easily is a precursor to their other wacky crime capers such as Fargo and Burn After Reading, with their stranger than fiction plot lines. A racial element is thrown in here as The Meyers, a black family, move in and are met with shock/disgust by all those around them (only Nicky will play baseball with the son). They deal with the riot outside their house with defiant indifference and rise above the racist bigots who taunt them night and day. This film shows a fine example of people who have done nothing wrong (only being defined by their colour) and the real culprits (Gardener & Margaret) literately getting away with murder. The phrase used a handful of times in the film is “Things like this didn’t happen before these blacks came here”, being tantamount to peoples ignorance and racist profiling.

There have been choppy reviews for Suburbicon. Perhaps this would have been a more remarkable film, if it had been made in the 80s, when the script was fresh. None the less, it still holds up as a good watch and we’d be keen to see Clooney directing more experimental works of cinema.

A nasty crime caper, with twists galore.

Rating: ****

Photo Credit: Collider Website

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