Joel and Ethan Coen wrote the script for “Suburbicon” more than three decades ago. After getting the chance to see the film which was directed by George Clooney, I can see why it took so long to get made. There are way too many subjects thrown into the narrative. First there are racial issues and social satire, plus we have a murder mystery. They are all thrown in a blender and what we get on screen is a complete mess. “Suburbicon” is a dark comedy that isn’t actually funny.
Set in 1959 suburbia, “Suburbicon” opens with the neighborhood’s outrage when an African-American family moves in. Living next door to the unwelcomed residents is the Lodge family, Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon), his wife, Rose (Julianne Moore) and their son Nicky (Noah Jupe). Rose’s twin sister Nancy (also played by Moore) is staying with them. Things seem to be pretty normal for the Lodge’s until their home is invaded by a couple of criminals who take Rose’s life. We learn soon after that there was a whole lot more to the crime and Gardner may have had a hand in what went down.
I didn’t hate “Suburbicon” but I feel it’s too all-over-the-place and lack’s focus. I think if the story dealt with only the Lodges’ and the crime, we would have had a more solid film. One thing I did like was the set design. “Suburbicon” is at times a beautiful looking film, however that’s not enough of a reason to recommend any film. Damon and Moore are good here and Oscar Isaac makes the most of the little screen time he has.
If the Coen’s had this much trouble trying to produce their script, that should have told the producers something right there. Not every screenplay makes for a good film, even if it’s from the guys who wrote “Fargo”.
By: Marc Ferman