I haven’t the faintest fucking clue what SUBURBICON was trying to be/accomplish/etc. It is not only one of the worst films of the year but I fail to see if it even had a point. It is also horribly mis-marketed. I know that George Clooney a month or so ago was quoted in an article saying that the trailer makes it look like a comedy but that it is only a soft couple of comedic beats and it is mostly dead serious. I kind of want to tell Clooney that the reason why it was marketed the way it was is that your movie sucks and that it was the only way to possibly get any asses in the theater. If the movie was sold to the audiences the way it is in the final cut, no one would’ve had a clue what they were supposed to make of the movie, and no one would’ve seen it. I don’t think the movie is getting bad reviews because it was sold to audiences as one movie and in actuality it is quite different. I think it is getting bad reviews because the movie is fucking terrible.
Suburbicon is horribly structured, horribly paced, horribly plotted, completely tone-deaf, and doesn’t have one likable character outside of the kid who plays Matt Damon’s son in the movie and the African-American family that lives next door (we’ll get to the problem with their story line in a second. Characters do things in this movie that makes absolutely zero sense. It is hard to explain without getting into spoilers so just trust me on that. The movie is marketed as a film that has a dark tone that slightly parodies suburbia life in the 50’s/60’s. Yeah, I didn’t even get a hint of that here. It’s like the movie couldn’t settle on a tone and didn’t know what it wanted to do, so it comes off as the most confusing tone-deaf experience I have ever probably had in the theater. There is one critic whose review on the Suburbicon poster said, “You’ll laugh till it hurts.” I don’t know what fucking movie he was watching, but I didn’t even chuckle, and from what the movie was trying to sell me, I don’t think I was supposed to either.
I know it seems like it is really hard to pin point who is to blame for this disaster but I’m probably going to have to put it all on Clooney. I know that the script said it was co written by him, Grant Heslov (who are both responsible for their trainwreck The Momuments Men) and the Coen brothers, but honestly, I think the Joel and Ethan’s name is just on it for show to get Coen fanatics into the theater (that’s how I was duped). I am willing to bet my life savings that their script was completely different, unfinished, and that Clooney and Heslov completely changed almost every aspect of it. I am willing to bet that the Coen’s script really did have a good Coen-y parody on life in suburbia and that it had a clear and concise tone. I don’t know what Clooney and Heslov were smoking when they were writing this.
I really can’t even describe the plot to you. I guess I could say that Matt Damon plays a business man in the 50s/60s who owes a lot of money to people with mob ties. Goons kill his wife by accident, and leave his sister-in-law (whose a twin so Julianne Moore plays two roles for some reason other than the fact that it is a meager plot device to be able to explain why Damon eventually fucks his sister-in-law mid movie) and son alive to pick up the pieces of the family tragedy. And there is a very underused subplot where an African American family moves in next door and racial tensions are high and most of the neighborhood wants them out. But then after that, the movie just takes some weird directions where I started to suspect they really didn’t have much of a story after all.
If any of the Coen’s script is in this, I have a feeling it is the only two good parts in the film, which is Oscar Isaac’s seedy insurance agent, and the African American family that lives next door. Now, Oscar Isaac is brilliant and gives his A+ game in everything he does, just like Tom Cruise, and this film is no exception. Even though his agent is an unlikable character, Isaac gives a quirky quality to his small role where we are actually invested in the movie for about 10 minutes. And while the subplot of the African American’s movie in is interesting and heartfelt whenever it is on screen, it is so underused and on screen for only about 15 minutes, it is criminal. In fact, I would’ve just liked to see a movie about that family mixed with a parody of suburban life. Now that actually sounds like it resembles a movie.
The characters here are completely unlikable. The acting is fine, but everyone is so murky and evil and vain that I just ended up hating Matt Damon and Julianne Moore in this. I know it isn’t their fault but the movie is just written that terrible. As for the direction from Clooney? What direction? Without a clear and concise tone the movie just ends up being a point and shoot kind of affair. Nothing whatsoever is artistic about this movie. And since I’m so tired of talking about this movie, I’m abruptly stopping this review. Sorry.