It’s funny how much the Galaxy pre-show can inform a review. Not only do we get trailers, we get to watch people talk about the movies they made. I’m not sure why, but when I saw George Clooney talking about Suburbicon, I knew it was going to be a stinker. The low reviews were no surprise. I wasn’t going to see Suburbicon to see if it was good or not, I was going to see why it was bad. Maybe I was hoping it turned out, against all expectation, to be awesome. It wasn’t, I hated it. The rest of the review is going to be why I hated it. If you’re planning on seeing this movie, stop right and don’t read any further. I’m going to spoil everything.
A home invasion rattles a quiet family town.
My main problem with Suburbicon is that just done so badly. On the face of it, this is the story of a man who couldn’t get out from his own mistakes and their consequences and struggles until it results in almost everyone’s death. This also describes the plot of ‘Hamlet’, but the key difference here is the ‘Tragic Flaw’. The hero would be fine if it weren’t for this one key characteristic that leads him to ruin. We can empathize because we recognize that we, ourselves, those mistakes . Gardner, Suburbicon’s main character, does not have a Tragic Flaw, he’s just an all-around toad. His situation is improbable, as were his actions, and he just becomes progressively more unlikable as the movie progresses. I spent the entire length of suburbicon watching terrible things happen to people I don’t care about. This movie didn’t have a hero, it only had villains and victims.
Then there was the subplot of a brewing race riot. A black family moves into a white neighbourhood and all the white people just get progressively more pissed off until they set fire to his car and trash his house. I don’t know whether this sort of thing happened or not in the 1950s, I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. But here it felt forced. I don’t understand what it added, either. Were we supposed to see how White People were the real villains in the piece? If that’s the case, Suburbicon was flogging a dead horse, this was apparent in the first 20 minutes of the movie. Just because you have racial violence doesn’t automatically make you interesting or relevant, Suburbicon. We already know racism is bad, you have to do something new.
I’m going to stop ranting for a second and talk about some things I liked, because there were some things. First was a horrifying scene in the beginning involving some chloroform. If the entire movie had been as good as that scene, I would have given Suburbicon 4 stars. Some of the performances were excellent. Glenn Fleshler was amazing, he was so terrifying and loathsome. Noah Jupe was also spectacular; his helplessness and quiet anger were palpable. I also really liked Oscar Isaac, he was so slimy and smarmy. The 1950s setting was magnificently done, with the cars, the clothes, the sets and the way people talked, it was wonderful
So is Suburbicon worth seeing? No; really no. I watched this so you don’t have to, it’s a complete waste of time. Apparently the script for this movie has existed since 1986 and just left to gather dust. I can see why. What I don’t see is why they thought this was a good idea to finally bring out and produce. And all the talent that went into this, it seems strange that this sucked so bad. I suspect that a documentary, ‘The Making of Suburbicon’ might be more interesting than Suburbicon itself.