Plot: Suburbicon is a idyllic community, a quiet, peaceful place that has attracted people from all the nation. The town is self sufficient, with all the stores and little luxuries you’d expect. But not all is as serene here as it seems, as a home invasion soon shatters that idyllic atmosphere. Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) has his own home broken into by two men with sadistic attitudes, who claim they won’t hurt anyone if they all cooperate, but soon things take a darker turn. Gardner’s wife Rose (Julianne Moore) is killed during the home invasion, which would normally be huge news in Suburbicon, but a new family in town has the spotlight. The first black family to move to Suburbicon has arrived and no one is pleased with their arrival, soon staging around the clock harassment that slowly escalates into more. As time progresses, it becomes clear Suburbicon might look ideal on the surface, but darkness lurks just beneath. As the Mayers family tries to cope with the harassment, Gardner finds himself under immense pressure when people begin to suspect there was more to the home invasion than first believed.
Entertainment Value: This movie was based on a script written by Joel and Ethan Coen decades ago and in truth, it is clear why the project sat dormant for so long. While it shows flashes of their signature wit and style, it is a simplistic, drawn out mess that is unable to find a stable base. The movie is loud and angry, but does little with that anger and just drags on, content to show us a paper thin take on racism and just below the surface tensions. I know that director George Clooney also did some rewrites, but I can’t be sure if his changes led to the lack of depth. The movie is desperate to have that Coen texture, but it just never even gets close to that mark. Suburbicon feels like a watered down version of a Coen movie, which is a shame. Matt Damon is fun to watch, as is the rest of the cast, but the performances can’t mask the shallow characters and lack of narrative depth. The movie isn’t overly long, but has a glacial pace at times and can feel like a chore to watch. Not one of the worst movies I’ve seen, but it just has little to offer and feels like a waste of time. As I said, the performances are good and that is the draw here, but otherwise, Suburbicon is skippable.
No nakedness. A brief scene that involves spanking with a ping pong paddle, but that’s all the sexual content. A little blood from some mild violence, then one burst of violence toward the finale. The impact happens off screen, but we see a fireplace poker stuck in a guy’s head, then his head picked up when the poker is pulled out, This happens at a distance, so it isn’t graphic, but it is a fun scene. The dialogue has some bright spots, as most of the characters are either cruel or dysfunctional. I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of big, memorable lines, but I appreciated the drama and dysfunction, especially since the movie was rather mediocre otherwise. Damon’s turn is on the campy side, but it fits the dark comic tone, while Julianne Moore’s dual roles are fun as well, especially as she unravels over time. In terms of craziness, the movie wants to be a dark, memorable movie so badly, but fails on most fronts. If anything, the movie winds up as forgettable outside of a few performances. But Damon and Moore are quite fun and over the top, so that earns a point.
Overall Insanity: 1/10