October 27, 2017

R: October 27th, 2017 | R: 105 minutes | R: R

Suburbicon is the most ideal place to live and raise a family in 1959. Its peaceful, relaxing and the neighbors are great in the ideal suburban city. And everything is going perfectly for the Lodge family. That is until one night when young Nicky (played by Noah Jupe) is woken up by his father Gardner (played by Matt Damon). His father relays the news that they were not alone and that men were robbing the home. Ever since that night Nicky slowly realizes that maybe Suburbicon is not as perfect as he once thought.

“Suburbicon” is not the first film directed by George Clooney himself. We have previously seen him direct “The Monuments Men” as well as “The Ides of March”. And while this film has been getting very poor reviews by the majority of critics, with a near 30% on Rotten Tomatoes... I really enjoyed this film. Right from the start, the tone felt very late 50’s inspired. The story was very confusing at first, but as things slowly built upon each other, the puzzle pieces began to click. And as more and more happened this movie became crazy. I was shocked to see what was happening on screen. This film also offered some surprisingly emotional moments. But on the other side of things, the comedic timing was brilliant. I really what was the big flaw critics saw in this film.

Matt Damon (previously seen in “The Martin” and “Jason Borne”) gave a great performance playing the father. And while underwhelming at first, as the film progressed Julianne Moore (previously seen in “Still Alice” and “Don Jon”) gave a very good performance. As much as I would like to tell you more about the acting it does contain spoilers so I will not go into it. All I will say is it is good.

One thing I would like to bring up that I thought hindered the film was that some elements feel like they do not fit with the rest of the film. For example there is a racist commentary going on throughout the film. The problem is they focus on it too much and do not expand upon it to tie into the central story. It left me unsure to whether it was a distraction, or a waste of the audience's time.

Anyways, to sum all of this up. I really enjoyed “Suburbicon”. It is not for everyone and does get very twisted, but I think it is worth watching. There are great performances from the cast and the story is honestly pretty terrifying. If you have any interest in this film, I would honestly recommend giving it a watch, if anything...do it for Matt Damon.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Cabell Cabell (Contributor) is a filmmaker from Tampa, Florida. He will watch just about any film but when he's not reviewing the latest hits he spends time directing films of his own.
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Over the years, Joel and Ethan Coen have done for film what the Wright Brothers did for flying back in the day. What Owen and Luke have done for Wes Anderson films. What those Hemworth's have done for TigerBeat Magazine. What the Afflecks have done for sexual harassment.

The Coen Brothers have given us some of the most argued about and adored films of the last few decades. Blood Simple was released the year I was born, 1984. Coincidentally, Joel Coen would also marry their would-be star in so many of their projects, Frances McDormand that year.

Joel and Ethan give us films that prompt people to gasp, "You haven't seen (Coen Brothers film)?!" The Big Lebowski is one of the most quotable films of all time. Ever heard someone try on a heavy "don'tcha know" accent? Guarantee you they heard it in Fargo. Or live in Fargo.

It stands to reason that every filmmaker will make a flop or two in their career, but Suburbicon -- at this time -- is in competition with Mother! for most-hated movie of the year.

Suburbicon is an idyllic community with its own school, fire department, police station -- the whole shebang. Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) is a family man whose life is rattled when thugs break into his home and terrorize his wife, Rose (Julianne Moore), her sister Margaret (also Julianne Moore), and his son, Nicky (Noah Jupe), ultimately killing Rose.

In the days after he's widowed, something seems a bit... off. All the while, his new next door neighbors, The Mayers -- an African American family -- are being terrorized by what seems to be all 60,000 residents of the once peaceful burb. Fortunately for Gardner, Mrs. Mayers (Karimah Westbrook) and her family are the center of attention, taking any and all focus off of the seedy things brewing under his roof.

Margaret takes on a role closer to mom than aunt to Nicky, but she feels more like a warden with a painted on smile. And what would the neighbors say if they knew was Margaret and Gardner were up to? We'll never know, because a family doing nothing at all is front and center.

The plot of this movie is paper-thin. It delivers a message about white privilege, but does so ineffectively. It's not difficult to understand what they're trying to say, but the film itself is so lackluster that you don't care by the end.

It plays like a Coen Brothers movie, and George Clooney in the Director's chair wasn't a bad idea, but sometimes an idea is better off left in the vault. It's not that I don't appreciate what they were trying to say here. I do. I just think perhaps a better movie with that same message could have been made.

That said, this movie -- just like Rebel in the Rye -- goes to show that having Oscar winners in starring roles does not a solid movie make.

It's okay, Coen Brothers. You made No Country for Old Men. And no one can take that away from you. We'll do better next time.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
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