‘Suburbicon’ – Film Review

Score

Despite hosting a full house of star names, George Clooney's murder mystery doesn't live up to its billing

On paper, Suburbicon should be a classic. It’s directed by George Clooney, it began life as a Coen Brothers script and it stars Oscar-winners Matt Damon and Julianne Moore. All in all, the perfect recipe for a big hit. Unfortunately, what we end up with is a disappointing murder-mystery that mostly wastes its potential.

Set in the 1950s, it follows Gardner Lodge (Damon), a mild-mannered businessman whose world is shattered when burglars break into the family home and poison his already sickly wife Margaret (Moore). Following the tragedy, Gardner’s sister-in-law Rose (also Moore) moves in to help steady the ship. But when the pair fail to pick out the thieves in a police lineup, and they’re caught in bed together, our suspicions are raised. Could it all be an elaborate con? Meanwhile, an African-American family moves in next door, which sends the ultra-conservative, all-white community into uproar. It all slowly builds to a violent and explosive finale.

The intention is clear – to create an unorthodox thriller that also comments on deep-rooted racism in American society. But it manages neither with any skill or originality. The humour feels off – quirky yet unfeeling  – and the African-American characters barely get a line. It’s like Clooney wanted to make two movies but lacked the cash, so he mashed them into one uneven epic. Predictably, it doesn’t quite work. Suburbicon is a patchy affair that fails to prove it’s worth more than the sum of its impressive parts.

Details

Release date: November 24, 2017
Cast: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac
Director: George Clooney