25 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: George Clooney, Roadshow Entertainment.

Cast: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe, Gary Basaraba.

It doesn’t take much for a suburban drama to turn into a nightmare: such is the scenario for Suburbicon.

It’s a peaceful, idyllic, suburban community with affordable homes and manicured lawns, the perfect place to raise a family. That is what the Lodge family is doing in the summer of 1959.

Gardner Lodge (Damon) is an executive who has his own office and secretary at work and a wife, Rose (Moore) and son, Nicky (Jupe) at home. It all looks tidy.

The neighbourhood is all-white, but the peace is disturbed when the Mayers, an African-American family moves in and small-town racism comes to the fore.

Shortly after two thugs invade the Lodge home. Two unknown white men tie the family to chairs and Gardner, Rose, Nicky and Rose’s twin sister Margaret (also played by Moore) are all given a dose of chloroform. They face a whole new reality when they finally regain consciousness.

The tranquil surface masks a disquieting reality, as Lodge must navigate the town’s dark underbelly of betrayal, deceit and violence.

Suburbicon is a dark, violent comedy about, among other things, the ‘evil that can spring up in an all-white community. It delivers a portrait of racism that is brutal and direct, as are the situations’.

Intriguing and confrontational, this film is written and directed by Clooney, and co-written by his regular writing partner Grant Heslov and brothers Ethan and Joel Coen.

Some talented actors play challenging and unusual roles and deliver well. Damon is convincing as a two-faced father; Moore plays two roles, one as a bitter and disabled mother and as her manipulative and superficial sister; and child actor Jupe excels as shy and anti-social, but also an unbiased and bright boy.

Even the secondary roles are convincing: Basaraba is a sympathetic, but tough uncle; Glenn Fleshler impresses as a creepy villain; and Isaac is believable as an investigative insurance agent.

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