Film: Suburbicon

I’m not a patient person. The list of things that annoy me is a bit like the digits of pi; never ending and harder to remember as the list goes on. On my list of things that make me impatient, settling in just between slow walkers and loud eaters are movies that make no sense at all, which is where the latest bomb Suburbicon from Director George Clooney comes in.

Suburbicon starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac revolves around suburban American life in the 1950s. It’s a film of two tales which is where the problems begin. The first part of the story shows Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) and Margaret (Julianne Moore) working together to attempt to pull off insurance fraud all whilst keeping Lodge’s son, Nicky, at bay to their criminal dealings. The second part of the film is that of an African American family moving into the previous white only neighbourhood of Suburbicon, and being forced to deal with the intense scrutiny and torment that was rampant with being black in 1950s America. The two parts of the film may sound disjointed, because they are, which is where the films problems begin. Clooney’s attempt to comment on racism in America and parallel it to society’s current issues with race. This leaves the film feeling muddled and confusing, and overall not very enjoyable to watch.

The screenplay was written by the Coen Brothers in the 1980s and rewritten by George Clooney and his co-writer Grant Heslov to bring it to what it currently is in the film, and perhaps Clooney and Heslov should have just not touched it. The two stories never intertwined, and seemingly just distracted one from another. Near the climax of the film I thought “oh so that’s where they’re going with the film…” but I was wrong. They still had no intention for the two story lines to inter-connect and as a film goer you were left thinking of what could have been, had the two not felt so disjointed.

Although the trailer of the film attempts to play the movie out as an edgy, dark comedy, those moments in the film are far and few between. There are some funny moments which will you give a small chuckle, but they’re not the sort of moments that stay with you, instead just a nice relief from an otherwise bleak and boring movie.

The acting in Suburbicon was a bit all over the place and it seemed like none of the actors really quite knew what the film was about and therefore were unsure of what to do with their characters. This was such a disappointment, as with such an outstanding cast on board, the acting should have been sublime. Julianne Moore, a widely recognised talent, has a one dimensional character in the film and this gives her very little to work with. As a result, the audience struggles to understand what she’s attempting to do throughout the movie. Matt Damon also seemed unsure of where to take his character. Damon seemed to have trouble finding the balance between emotion and comedy and somehow managed to get awkwardly stuck in the middle, not knowing when the right time to evoke emotion or laughter was. (Hint: he fails to do either.)

A saving grace in the film is the performance by Oscar Isaac. His character brings a much needed change in pace to the film, and his addition finally begins to bring half of the movie together. However, even Isaacs presence wasn’t a big enough addition to leave you satisfied as a viewer, and definitely not a big enough presence to warrant a recommendation of viewing.

This film is not worth wasting an hour and 45 minutes of your time, especially if like me you are an impatient person who desires the films they watch to be rich in content and excitement; both of which this film fails to achieve. As I was leaving the cinema with my friend I turned to her and said “Thank god I’m a patient person” and she laughed harder than she did at any other joke in the entire movie. In that sentence alone I have provided you with more entertainment than this movie provided me in one hour and 45 minutes – and I didn’t even charge you for it.


Suburbicon is currently in cinemas.

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