‘Suburbicon’ fails to please


I went into “Suburbicon” with high hopes due to its trailer and star power in front and behind the camera. Although George Clooney showed his ability to be a decent director in past films, this one came up short. Coen brothers also gave this film great expectation that never came to fruition. The finished product was unable to capitalize on the possibilities and never seemed to finds its identity.

The film takes place in an all-white suburban housing tract in the late 1950’s — a place known for its family friendly neighborhood, good schools and little to no crime. This all changes when the Mayers family moves in, the first African Americans in the community, at no fault of their own.

This is when we learn that the residents in this cookie cutter, “Pleasantville” type of neighborhood do not appreciate change around their homes, especially in the form of integration. I was interested to see how the racial divide aspect would play in this film but in the end, it was not well thought out and it keeps the viewer from investing ones self into one plot point.

All the while as racial divide is taking place outside, the true story is going on inside the house next door. That house belongs to Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon), his wife Rose Lodge (Julianne Moore) their son Nicky Lodge (Noah Jupe) and Rose’s sister Margaret (also Julianne Moore).

The opening scene shows us a flustered Mr. Lodge waking up his son, explaining that there are two men in the house. The mystery men proceed to tie the entire family to the dinner table chairs and put them to sleep with chloroform. Mrs. Lodge is the only one of the four that dies from the encounter.

It’s at this point where we begin to wonder why these men would kill the woman of the house while not hurting anyone else or stealing anything from the residence. The actions of Mr. Lodge and the wife’s sister Margaret after the incident began to lead us to believe foul play may have been the reason the others survived the attack.

This brings along one of the bright spots of the film in the form of a suspicious life insurance investigator (Oscar Isaac). Although briefly in the film, his character is an important and clever one.

We now start to view what is unraveling in the Point of view of the son Nicky. As he begins to see things aren’t adding up, everything around him starts to fall apart and that goes for the rest of the family as well. Through Nicky’s eyes you begin to see truth of what happened to his mother in the beginning.

Overall this movie wasn’t as good as it could have been but by no means was it an absolute disaster. It does struggle to declare itself a mystery, comedy, drama or thriller but there are good scenes and multiple plot points that will at least keep you interested along the way.

The star power and general appeal of this movie is enough to warrant a visit to the theaters but waiting for it to be rentable might be a safer bet.