Suburbicon sees George Clooney working off a script that had been gathering dust on the desks of the Coen brothers for years. It tells the story of Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon), who lives in the perfect suburban town of Suburbicon with his partially paralyzed wife Rose (Julianne Moore) and their son Nicky (Noah Jupe). But when Rose ends up dead after a home invasion gone wrong and her twin sister Margaret (also Moore) moves in a bit too fast, you start to expect that not everything is as perfect as it seems. And you wouldn’t be the only one… cue insurance investigator Bud Cooper (Oscar Isaac), a complete sleazebag who is very good at catching other sleazebags.
That right there sounds like the kind of premise for a dark comedy we have come to expect from the Coen brothers. But Clooney took it upon himself to introduce a second storyline, one that deals with a new family moving into the neighborhood. A family that receives an altogether unpleasant welcome simply because they are African-American. Admirable, yes. And unfortunately, still way too current in the Trump era.
Also unfortunate is the fact that the two stories never blend together. Instead they simply exist next to one another, which makes ‘Suburbicon’ a very uneven movie that - in spite of a couple of strong scenes and a solid performance by Damon - is best off being forgotten as quickly as Clooney’s previous directorial effort, ‘The Monuments Men’.