“Suburbicon”: Film Review & Podcast

Posted: October 31st, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

There is a romance that lingers still about the 1950s.

Lovers reunited and families started after the boys and (as we called ’em back then) a few gals returned from WWII and Korea. We hit the road on the interstate, savoring Howard Johnson’s clam rolls and 28 flavors. Transistor radios and rock & roll unleashed a teen culture. TV dinners and mom in the kitchen.

It’s part true, part mythos, part false.

In “Suburbicon,” George Clooney seeks to debunk all of the mom and pop and white picket fence facade. With terrible swift sword.

The film is somewhat humorous. Often grisly. A shade arch. And, mostly, unfulfilling. (Though lovely to look at.)

The nagging sense is that it’s a Coen Brothers movie gone awry. Which, to be frank, it is. Freres Joel and Ethan crafted this screenplay a bit ago. Realizing it didn’t quite all fit together, they set it aside.

Which is where it should have stayed. Clooney has attempted to give it some life. Didn’t do it.

Matt Damon’s wife Julianne Moore is killed in a break in. Her sister, also Julianne Moore, comes to live and nurture him and son Noah Jupe. All is not as it seems at first.

Meanwhile there a parallel story of a black family that moved into this allegedly bucolic subdivision next door. They are harassed mercilessly. But that story fades into the backdrop.

The Coens realized something was amiss in their tale. Too diffuse. Too disjointed. Clooney unfortunately did not.

This is not a sweet film. To say the least.

But if you are interested in the culture of the 50s and would like a more benign remembrance that also mocks the romantic nostalgia of the era, check out “Pleasantville,” a much friendlier ’98 film about a couple of kids who all of a sudden are living inside a “Father Knows Best” kind of TV show.

For more on “Suburbicon,” listen up:

Audio MP3

— c d kaplan

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