Reel Shorts | Suburbicon

by Monica Hayes

George Clooney’s Suburbicon, a picturesque community of cookie-cutter homes, manicured lawns and friendly neighbors. A place that seems to be a peaceful place to settle down and raise a family right? Well, don’t get too comfortable, because this is a total mess.

Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon), is the typical nerdy looking accountant who lives in Suburbicon with his wife Rose (Julianne Moore) and son Nicky (Noah Jupe) who seem to be enjoying a nice quiet life. One day, a new family moves into the home directly behind Lodge’s, the Meyers, the first African American family. Maggie, Rose’s twin sister suggests that Nicky “go on over and play ball with that little-colored boy” and welcome them to the neighborhood. Later that night, a couple of hoodlums break into the Lodge’s home, tie everyone up, and chloroform everyone ultimately killing Rose.

Meanwhile, the town is in a huge uproar about the Meyers moving into their neighborhood. So much so, an emergency meeting is called to discuss a plan on how to get them out. That is when things turn ugly real quick.

After Rose’s funeral, Aunt Maggie moves in to help out because a little boy needs a mama to take care of him. Hmm, something smells fishy. Once Maggie moves in, Nicky starts to suspect his dad and aunt may be keeping secrets. This suspicion comes to the forefront after Maggie and Gardner are called to the police station to identify possible suspects. Nicky, not wanting to sit outside, sneaks into the line-up room and sees the guys who broke into their home and killed his mom. However, both Maggie and Gardner did not identify the perpetrators. At that point, Nicky grew more suspicious about his dad and aunt’s actions and motives. He finds himself stumbling into situations he never thought of and hearing things that would give a grown person nightmares.

Coming into this movie, one could assume from the trailer that Matt Damon has gotten into some sort of trouble, or mixed up with an unruly bunch of folks and must to fight to protect his family, a la Jason Bourne. Sadly, this is not the case. Gardner Lodge is a far cry from Bourne. Damon’s performance is okay, nothing exceptionally good or bad about it, simply okay. The same sentiment goes for Julianne Moore’s dual role as twins Rose and Maggie. There is just nothing exceptional about it. Unless you count how Maggie is just a bat-shit crazy version of Rose. Other than that, nothing.

Suburbicon attempts to cram dark comedy, a murder mystery and racial tension into one story but fails miserably. Had director George Clooney and his co-writers, the Cohen brothers, just stuck to the main plot of Gardner Lodge and his life quickly spiraling out of control, this would have been a better movie. However, adding the racial content is pointless and does nothing to further the main plot of the movie.

Overall, there were many questions throughout this movie that were not answered. Such as; who were the goons and why were they so hell-bent on attacking this family? What was the purpose of having the Meyers’ move into the neighborhood? What was really up with Gardner and Maggie? What does Nicky do at the end??? Basically, you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the “Ah Ha” moment that never comes. Do yourself a favor and catch this one on Netflix or stream online.

Grade D