Suburbicon, at first glance, seemed like a 1950’s version of Michael Douglass’ film Falling Down (1993). However, Matt Damon sparked a bit more intrigued when he spoke about Suburbicon in an interview.
“It’s kind of the definition of white privilege when you’re riding around your neighborhood on a bicycle covered in blood murdering people and the African-American family is getting blamed for it,”
– Matt Damon.
Given that extra layer of context, I really thought that this film was going to try and do something socially conscious. Then I actually saw I was in store for something very…different.
I think my absolute favorite part of this film was the first 10 minutes. We’re given a touch of racial satire that may remind people of the same vibe from the movie Get Out (2017). The characters in the movie quickly begin to set the dark, comedic tone that continues until the film’s end. Another positive aspect of the film is the bond that the children in this film share. Despite all of the other random occurrences that happen in the film, their friendship is probably the one thing that comes off to be as authentic as possible.
It may be safe to say that Matt Damon delivers a solid performance with his character. The more we learn, the more his character may affect how you feel about him. I think my favorite performance was probably Oscar Isaac. He seemed to be one of the few actors in this film that really got into his character (and had fun with it).
This movie was so random. The direction of the film felt disjointed once you get to the second half of the movie. It almost felt like Director George Clooney was in a tug of war with his typical style of directing against the writing style of the Cohen brothers. The direction, and the writing just seemed to mix like oil and water.
One of the negatives that stood out to me were the constantly failed jokes about religion. They kept pushing a certain joke about various Christian denominations and the joke barely got a chuckle from the audience in my screening. Given the fact that this film is slated as a comedy, the most it could pull out of my audience were a couple of laughs here or there. (They were few and far in between.)
Suburbicon attempts to bring some sort of racial connection to tell the story, but it fails to communicate any message of “white privilege” as Damon commented. No one is going to walk away from this film and have some sort of social imaginative revelation. The racism that is displayed in this film is taken to such an extreme, it completely misses the mark of drawing any relevance to anything contemporary.
Unfortunately, the story itself missed an opportunity to be a bit more intriguing. Probably half way into the film, everything takes a very predictable turn. Even though the movie does escalate to some ridiculous levels, nothing will necessarily strike you with shock.
Suburbicon could’ve been a great, funny, socially conscious film. Regrettably, it’s just not that deep. It’s a pretty random film that probably lives up to the expectations of the Cohen brothers (Fargo, Hail Cesar, etc). If you’re a fan of their work, then maybe you’ll enjoy this movie more than I did. I can’t say that I disliked Suburbicon. However, I left the theater not feeling any type of way about it. I think that if a film leaves you indifferent, then that’s an immediate red flag. Watch at your own risk.