Ray's Review: Suburbicon


Houston Film Fanatics - HFF Ray

George Clooney is back in the director chair taking on the new film Suburbicon starring Matt Damon, Julianna Moore, and Oscar Isaac. This film, which is the latest from the Coen brothers takes us to the quiet town of Suburbicon. The town itself tries very hard to live the Beaver Cleaver lifestyle where everyone is very polite, nice, and white. Things take a turn when the first black family moves into the neighborhood causing the town to start showing their true racist colors. At the same town a house, right next to our new tenant is going through a horrific home invasion leaving Matt Damon and his son Nicky with the loss of Damon's wife. You can tell there is a lot more to this story and that Damon's character Gardner has got something to hide. When his wife's identical twin sister comes to move in (Juliana Moore) things take a much darker turn as Gardner's true colors unfold as well leaving poor Nicky to try to figure out just what the hell is happening to his happy home. 

Maybe it is just me, but I actually really liked this film. There is a lot of hate for it rolling around online, but I feel like maybe this one is just misunderstood. The movie has a really long way of showing the screwed up emotions of our society. We have a poor black family being attacked, bullied and berated for just simply existing, while next door a white man literally murders someone in the street and nothing happens, not even a raised eyebrow. It is kind of crazy. Now I know a lot of the plot has been over stylized for a dramatic effect on the film, but the core message of racism and social inequality still should leave its mark on the viewer. We also get a glimpse of the hope for the future in our youth as Nicky is able to reach out and play with the black boy next door, Andy (Tony Espinosa). They are someone comfort to each other when things start to reach their boiling point. Nothing shows more how hate is a taught idea rather than something you are just born with. 

The movie itself could use some work with its flow. It did feel a little long at times and I am not going to lie, based on the trailer, this didn't seem at all like what I was expecting. While Damon's character takes front and center in the poster for this film, Nicky seems to be the real lead. Despite all that, my favorite character in the entire film is Oscar Isaac as Roger who is investigating the life insurance claim after the death of Gardner's wife. He is hands down the funniest part of the movie. It is important to remember that this isn't a comedy, though it has several funny parts, it is definitely more of a dark crime drama. 

With all, it's quirks I did enjoy this film and would actually recommend people check this one out. We scored this one with a B+. It may not be what you are expecting, but the story is entertaining and like I said, dark. It has a definitive Coen Brothers feel to it and you can definitely tell Clooney is at the helm with his unique directing style. This isn't the usual role we seem Damon in, but he fits it like a glove. Take some time this weekend and see something a little bit different here. 

Suburbicon opens in theaters everywhere October 27th. 

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