In the 1950’s there is a Utopia in Central America known as Suburbicon, it is filled with everything well-meaning and wholesome Americans are looking for. It’s clean, the kids play openly in the streets and everyone is living that American dream. All is gumdrops and rainbows until an African-American family moves into this idyllic suburb and the cracks begin to show in this supposed paradise and a deep-rooted evil that has been simmering underneath Suburbicon slithers its way to the surface through these cracks.
Suburbicon stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and newcomer Noah Jupe as the Lodges a regular family that love living in the ideal world that is Suburbicon. However after Nicky is told by his aunt Margaret (Moore) that he should play with his African-American neighbour so that the young lad doesn’t feel so alone the unthinkable happens, there is a home invasion and Rose (Moore in a dual performance) the mother of Nicky and wife to Gardner (Damon) is killed. From here on out Suburbicon takes twisted turn after twisted turn in its narrative which left many audience members gasping in disbelief at the particular screening I was at.
Director George Clooney has developed quite the interesting tale in Suburbicon he utilises a dual narrative showing the audience two separate stories going on in the film that in my opinion reflect each other. The narrative of the African-American family and how the whole of Suburbicon is growing in its intense hatred for them mirrors the loss of innocence of the Lodge family and the growing chaos in their family dynamic. It is fascinating to watch and offers an interesting cinematic experience in my opinion. Not only that the film has a macabre sense of humour about it that adds to the growing lunacy of the events in the film. As the audience learns more about the events surrounding the death of Margaret the dark underbelly of the film truly shows itself.
There are moments of pure terror as we follow the journeys of Gardner and Nicky who are the two sides to this film. Gardner represents the darker elements of the film as he deals with the death of his wife and the part he may have played in it. Damon is brilliant as this supposedly meek individual who becomes something of a villain by the end of the film. On the flip side, Noah Jupe is brilliant as Nicky, a smart and charming young man who is trying his best to deal with the horrible situation he is in. He is the light in the darkness that his fathers shadow has cast on his family home and his journey throughout Suburbicon is wonderful. Julianne Moore as Margaret is a delight, she’s effortlessly quirky and oblivious to anything outside of her circle of interests and it is this ignorance mixed with her darker actions that makes her quite the interesting caricature of a 1950’s housewife. This is all capped off with an electric performance by Oscar Isaac who comes in for one or two short but memorable scenes.
Though the film is well directed and the characters are enjoyable to watch there is nothing cinematically enjoyable about Suburbicon. It looks decent enough but it’s nothing particularly memorable and though the score is era-appropriate it also leaves no lasting impression. My only severe gripe with Suburbicon is that the ridiculousness of the events begin to become predictable and feel like a watered down Coen Brothers film which is ironic as the Coen Brothers were a part of the writing team behind this film.
Suburbicon is a film that offers an enticing story for audiences to dive into and with strong performances from the cast and a possible breakout star in the shape of Noah Jupe. Suburbicon audiences are sure to enjoy themselves with this twisted piece of Americana.