Suburbicon: Film Review

Suburbicon

I felt confident about Suburbicon – what with it being directed by George Clooney and starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore – until the bad reviews came out following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival. I didn’t let that faze me as I wanted it to be good and I went in full of hope – and came away miffed about the mixed bag I had witnessed.

The film focuses on two sets of residents in the crime-free, perfect suburban community of Suburbicon. First, we have the Mayers, the first African-American family to move into the otherwise white neighbourhood, and how they are treated by their neighbours, who want to drive them away. Around the block we have the Lodges – Gardner (Damon), his wife Rose and her sister Margaret (both Moore) and their son Nicky (Noah Jupe). One night, two criminals break into their home and kill Rose in front of the others, but turns out Gardner and Margaret were more involved than we thought.

The first is a racial drama and the second is a whimsical black comedy, which are two completely different styles and don’t gel well together. It seems weird that they were put together in the first place. The film is basically trying to be two things at once and it doesn’t work. I thought there would eventually be some connection between the two so it would make sense, but it didn’t. They were basically separate entities, hardly affecting the other, and they should have been two movies rather than being mish-mashed into one. They are both good stories, but not side by side, as they throw off the drama and the pace of each other.

The family dynamic also needed to be established better before the murder takes place because I couldn’t figure out which sister was married to Gardner and which was the mum to the boy. I thought perhaps I had missed something but my friend confirmed it wasn’t explained. This continued throughout the movie – I didn’t know for sure what Gardner and Margaret’s motives were and needed more back story.

Despite those negatives, I didn’t actually think it was as bad as some people made out. The Lodges’ storyline is wacky, fun and exciting and I laughed out loud often. It looks amazing, had some good dialogue and stellar turn from Oscar Isaac as an insurance company man who has noticed something fishy. It was also great to see Damon and Moore play morally corrupt or even psychopathic people.

I liked both storylines but they didn’t work together and it was tonally all over the place. I love the darkly comedic tone of the murder mystery and wish it wasn’t bogged down with the racial drama, which deserved to be its own movie.

In cinemas Friday 24th November 

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