Suburbicon is a peaceful, idyllic, suburban community with affordable homes and manicured lawns — the perfect place to raise a family, and in the summer of 1959, the Lodge family is doing just that. But the tranquil surface masks a disturbing reality, as husband and father Gardner Lodge must navigate the town’s dark underbelly of betrayal, deceit and violence.
George Clooney’s Suburbicon is an absolute mess, that’s the easiest way to put it. to start out an African-American family moves into this all white neighborhood in the 50’s (never a good situation) and the film is set in motion. Also we have the main plot with Matt Damon and his family which is supposed to be a dark comedy of sorts. So you may wonder how Clooney plans to combine his dark comedy with his commentary on America’s race problem. And that’s where the problem with Suburbicon lies, those are two things that just don’t work harmoniously together. Clooney isn’t sure what kind of movie he wants to make. Does he want to make this dark comedy, does he want to write this visual essay on race or does he want make this murder mystery thriller with suspense? He tries to do all of these things and that’s why Suburbicon fails.
There is such a blatant point to the movie: the white people are getting away with murder, while the black people are enduring hell across the street. The film is showing you what’s wrong with this situation as it should, but it’s just so damn condescending. Every little detail of Suburbicon is handed to the audience on a silver platter, you don’t get to figure out anything as the film goes on. I actually had Suburbicon completely figured within the first 15 minutes.
Another problem with Suburbicon is the pacing the first half is dreadfully slow and boing, and only gets a little bit of steam once Oscar Isaac enters the picture. Sitting through the first few acts really isn’t justified by the payoff in the latter half. The attempts at “dark humor” fall miserably flat. I don’t honestly know how they thought anything in this movie was even remotely funny.
Suburbicon isn’t quite sure what it wants to be. It’s problems are deeply rooted in its intentions. It’s not badly directed and, the acting is pretty good but it all just seems wasted by one of the most tonally confused stories I’ve ever seen.