Movie Reviews

Published on October 27th, 2017 | by Josh Aja



Suburbicon is a picturesque community built to free families from all the hustle and bustle of the big city but with all the amenities a community will need. For all intents in purposes Suburbicon is the ideal place to raise a family in the 1950s. That is exactly what the Lodge family is doing. That is until the night Nicky (Noah Jupe) is awoken by his father, Gardner (Matt Damon), and told that there are two men in the house. The two criminals, Sloan and Louis (Glenn Fleshler and Alex Hassell), move the family to the kitchen and tie Nicky, Gardner, Nicky’s mother Rose (Julianne Moore) and Rose’s sister Margaret (also Julianne Moore) to chairs and put them to sleep using chloroform. When Nicky awakens in the hospital his father and aunt are waiting for him but sadly his mother was overdosed with chloroform and died. After the funeral it is decided by Gardner that Aunt Margaret should come stay with them. When officer Hightower (Jack Conley) calls to let them know they have found two possible suspects Gardner rushes to the police station to look at a lineup. Gardner arrives and is surprised to find Margaret and Nicky there. He asks that Nicky be left outside to save him from the trauma. After a line of potential criminals are paraded in front of Gardner and Margaret both agree that the perpetrators are not there. When they turn around they are surprised to see Nicky with a shocked look on his face as he is staring directly at Sloan and Louis. Nicky now knows that something is going on with his mother’s death and he may be trapped in a house with the two people who are responsible. He is not the only one that thinks something is amiss an insurance investigator, Bud Cooper (Oscar Isaac), shows up with questions about the policy. Is the Suburbicon truly the sanctuary that it looks like from the outside or is there something sinister happening behind closed doors?

This dark comedy, thriller, and mystery is directed by George Clooney (The Monuments Men, Leatherheads) and written by Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, The Big Lebowski). The film has some fun moments and interesting twists. I enjoyed how they made the film authentic to the 1950s era. The scenery and sets all give you the feel of the time period. The performances were are mostly well done. Julianne Moore’s performance was really good in both roles but especially as the out there Margaret. She was at times very innocent and loving and the next moment really scary in a deranged kind of way. The supporting cast was large and all were fun, especially the dry Hightower (Conley) and the lovable Uncle Mitch (Gary Basaraba). Matt Damon is part scary and funny but sometimes over the top.

Where this film lost me was on parts of the story really that felt disjointed from other parts of the film. For instance another story line that is playing out during the film is that the Mayers’ family moves to Suburbicon on the same day that the break in at the Lodge’s. The Mayers are the first African American family to move into the area and they are instantly judged and discriminated against. As the movie continues and more craziness is happing at the Lodge home, which shares a back yard with the Mayers, there is an escalation in the persecution of the Mayers. I totally understand what point the film was attempting to make about how people were up in arms about a single family that just moving the town and ignoring, or rather too busy to even notice, the evil deeds being committed so close. I just believe that two stories never felt like they were truly tied together and in some points even part of the same film. I really believe an opportunity was missed. Also the comedy was at times really good but also times where it felt forced. When Matt Damon is riding a child bike with a blood soaked shirt down suburban streets you would think that would be funny, and it looked funny in the trailer, but it felt forced when put into the context of the scene.

Overall this is a film was good but really left me feeling like I just didn’t get it. It was definitely original and I would encourage people to watch it and come to their own conclusions.

2 out of 5

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