Suburbicon Movie Review
Well, Matt Damon had a shit year. Between the mishap mash that was The Great Wall—in which Damon was terrible—and the utterly disappointing Downsizing, Damon starred in the critical shit sandwich Suburbicon, a comedic thriller that looked great on paper (directed by George Clooney, written by the Coen brothers, and co-starring Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac) but put into action is an inert, forgettable misfire.
Not as terrible as critics say but still not very good, Suburbicon has the beats of your typical Coen brothers’ movie without the energy, humor or creativity. The characters are flat and the central plot gets bogged down by an odd and distracting attempt at racial commentary that literally goes up in flames.
Damon is instantly forgettable and Moore isn’t much better, though Isaac offers a little spark in what is otherwise a bleak production. Suburbicon tries to straddle that fine line between crime thriller and dark comedy the Coens often maneuver so easily, but either they half-assed the screenplay or Clooney simply failed at doing anything with it.
Either way, Suburbicon is a crime-thriller without charm or even purpose; presented as a dark crime comedy, it is neither funny nor witty nor particularly complex. Shit happens, but it isn’t very interesting; the twist is predictable and not explored in ways that would be conducive to entertaining cinema.
Clooney may have had time to rescue his flailing story had he not devoted so much to depicting an African-American family that moves into an otherwise white neighborhood and faces increasing hostility from their neighbors. The side plot literally has nothing to do with anything and appears to exist solely to serve as a distraction to the police during the film’s climax. It’s at best a waste of time, at worst an offensive play at racial commentary that comes across completely tone deaf.
Suburbicon has the pieces to be successful, but Clooney squanders them at every turn. Neither funny nor sophisticated, the movie is best to be ignored and forgotten, which, based on the reviews and box office reception, is exactly what will happen to it. Matt Damon will be fine with that, I imagine.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.