Movie Review – Suburbicon

Ominous, paranoid, depraved, slow, violent, pessimistic, foreboding, and dark — both metaphorically and visually. Racist, and rather evil. None of the named characters are likable. If these traits sound like movie accolades to you, you’ll enjoy this film.

I didn’t. It was vile. If I wasn’t seeing it for work, I would have walked out. I felt grimy afterwards.

I was thinking it might be something like *Pleasantville*, another grim portrayal of mid-century bland suburbanite fantasies. *Pleasantville* at least was a good story. *Suburbicon* is the kind of film you’ll probably love or hate, depending on your tolerance for demented imagery and disturbing humor. There’s some deep stuff with the overtly racist storyline treated as an afterthought (interesting choice), framing the grisly hidden reality of the apparently squeaky-clean, whiter than white Lodges a few feet away, next door. I can see where the Coens were going with this, but they just didn’t get there satisfactorily. There’s no real payoff. At least the film is short.


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I will give this a C+, which is more than I want to, because director George Clooney clearly had a vision for how he wanted to tell this story: he used a very stylized tone/color palette, with a restrained soundtrack, to accomplish a certain look and feel. It’s quirky in a vulgar way, and there are filmatic callbacks to the old Hitchcock films. Some of the camera work made me nauseous, and I’m sure that was intended. So there was this.

The acting? Oscar Issac has the best lines and energy, and the mostly listless film picks up some zing in his brief scenes.

Matt Damon does his role reasonably well, and so does Julianne Moore. Even if you can’t like them (or anyone else).

 

Movie Rating: C+

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