Done to Death: Suburbicon Doesn't Work as a Satire
Suburbicon spends too much time winking at its own cleverness to be an entertaining story.
2.5/ 5 stars
The idea of showing the optimism and cheerfulness of 1950s suburbia juxtaposed with darkness and human cruelty is a concept that's been done to death at this point. I mean, it's something that was satirized even in the 1950s; so to make a movie with that theme stand out today, it would have to be really ingenious and inventive. George Clooney's Suburbicon is not that film.
The film takes place in a quiet, happy little slice of idealized suburban heaven (you know, the kind that only existed in 1950s television) whose citizens suddenly let out their not-so hidden bigotry when some new neighbors arrive. Meanwhile, a young boy named Nicky Lodge (Noah Jupe) begins to learn that his father (Matt Damon) and his aunt (Julianne Moore) are hiding some dark secrets of their own.
While set in the '50s, the story (from a script by the Coen Brothers) is clearly intended as a metaphor for the current political climate, with the people letting their intolerance of the perceived "other" distract them from the real atrocities being committed right under their noses. It works metaphorically, but it's all too obvious to really work as effective satire. Ultimately Suburbicon is well acted (special shout-out to Oscar Isaac in a supporting role) and competently directed but it spends too much time winking at its own cleverness to be an entertaining story. In the end, that's the real atrocity. — Forest Taylor
Directed by: George Clooney // Written by: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney and Grant Heslov // Starring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Noah Jupe, Gary Basaraba and Oscar Isaac // 105 minutes