George Clooney takes to directing his latest venture combining two interesting films with two different story lines all in one. Suburbicon is the story about the fight for racial segregation and another story about a home invasion. The two stories hardly intertwine and one dominates the other so much so that the concept and execution was a careless and insulting narration on racial segregation in the 1950s. Not only that, Suburbicon is down right confusing and hard to understand what’s going on.
Suburbicon is a story about a 1950s community built after the Second World War as an affordable place for veterans to live with their families. Everyone gets along and nothing bad ever happens. That is until an African American family moves into the neighbourhood. The community is against having this family live next door to them so they protest all day and all night in hope they might leave. The young boy of the family makes friends with the boy, Nicky, in the house behind.
Sadly Nicky’s mother, Rose, and wife to Gardner has just died in a horrible home invasion which the Nicky had witnessed. To make matters worse Nicky finds out that his father and his mothers sister who happens to be her twin had coordinated with the Mob to kill Rose for the insurance money.
It is hard to get your head around why there are these two different story lines running at the same time or what is was Clooney was going for. The stories hardly intertwine aside from the boys playing catch with each other. There’s hardly any dialogue from the African American family, which makes it feel more like a time filler than anything else. The story would have been a fine one if it were a stand-alone. The other story line about Rose’s death had a lot more information and was the substance of the film. You knew where it came from and where it was going unlike the other story line. The two together just didn’t make sense.
Matt Damon plays the devoted husband and father on the surface but that soon changes, as he becomes a killer. Damon channels something very dark and frightening especially when he talks to his son in one of the final scenes. But he doesn’t shy away from the Damon – Clooney style humour and delivery that has come to be expected from the two. Not his best performance, but certainly played well.
Julianne Moore plays twin sisters Rose and Margaret in an over the top creepy and murderous mother/aunty figure. Moore seems to have this evil persona creeping under the façade of a smiling happy person down pact. She did the same for her last role in The Kingsman: Golden Circle. As the twin sister Margaret however Moore has more relatable mannerisms until things go pear shaped.
The standout performance has to go to Nicky played Noah Jupe. He plays the son of Matt Damon and goes on a whole rollercoaster of emotions. The final scene where he’s at the kitchen table talking with his father, or rather being talked to, Jupe manages to capture some absolutely stunning facial emotions that truly suck you in what is a rather confronting scene.
Suburbicon is a dark comedy about two stories that don’t work together. This is one of those cases where you either like how Clooney directs his films or you wont like it. There is some stand out hilarious scenes but for the most part it is disjointed and hard to follow or understand exactly how everything is piecing together. As it turns out, it doesn’t.
Review by Jay Cook