Director: George Clooney
Talent: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac
Released: 24 November
George Clooney’s latest foray into the world of directing is through an offbeat comedy/drama set in a supposed utopian society called Suburbicon. This is the kind of place where people look after their neighbours and postmen chat to locals whilst doing their rounds. Or at least that’s what we’re told. Clooney soon leaves this perfect world behind as we’re lead on two simultaneously downward spiralling disaster plots that will tear the community in two.
The inclusion of the dual arcs is never entirely justified. The first deals with the breakup of the family unit following a tragedy. Rose Lodge (Julianne Moore) has been left wheelchair bound since a car accident in which her husband Gardener (Matt Damon) was the driver. The pair have seemingly never recovered from this tragic incident and Gardener decides it’s time to take action. The second story follows a black family who move in next door to the Gardeners. This part of the film tries to make a commentary about race relations but is largely underplayed and ends up feeling like a bolt-on to the first. This might be ok if the primary plot worked but the screenplay co-written by the Coen Brothers in tandem with Clooney and Heslov is far from a classic.
The tone of Suburbicon is just never quite right. In its essence it is a black comedy but is also asking you to take it too seriously. It’s trying to make a point about civil rights but doesn’t afford it the time to do so. Oscar Isaac and Julianne Moore put in two good comedic performances, and Jan Pascale nailed the sets in this 1960s alternative universe, but this was largely a confused effort from Clooney in what may be his last shot in the director’s chair.
Words – Cal Byrne