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Review: Suburbicon

No one asked for this

Set within a fictional 1960s gated community, George Clooney’s sixth directorial outing, Suburbicon, follows Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon), who plots to kills his wife to collect insurance money with the help of his sister-in-law Margaret (Julianne Moore). This Double Indemnity-esque narrative is complicated by Gardner’s skeptical son (Noah Jupe). Meanwhile, the town is shaken up by the arrival of the Meyers family, the first and only Black people to move into the all-white neighbourhood. As Gardner and Margaret progress in their plot, the townspeople bubble with rage, building to a riot on the Meyers’ lawn.

Despite a good deal of polish and slick style, Suburbicon is totally empty. Based on a Coen brothers’ script, the film has the director-duo’s trademark dark humour, which is unfortunately flat in the hands of Clooney. While Oscar Isaac’s brief, yet wonderfully performed role, as a straight-talking insurance investigator, steals the show, it is only a small breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale film. The addition of the race subplot is equally shallow, saying nothing and exploiting the trauma of the Black family (who have no agency or voice) for tension. Passionless and uninspired, a derivative non-Coens noir throwback with barely the inklings of racial critique is not anything effective or enjoyable.

Chelsea Phillips-Carr

Chelsea Phillips-Carr is a freelance writer from Toronto. She has an MA in cinema studies.