The Coen Brothers are notorious for their sharp black wit and fizzling films; this time, we have George Clooney at the helm of their latest screenplay: Suburbicon. But can it live up to that classic Coens magic?

Suburbicon certainly has hints of that Coens edge and flourish, but there is clearly a reason they abandoned the script long ago. The backdrop of our film is the idealistic town of fictional Suburbicon in the mid-1950s, the poster community for model America with the colourful houses lined neatly side by side one another and the small, warm community ready to welcome you into their perfect little homes for a cup of coffee and some biscuits. It's a cosy, friendly place. Or so it seems. This peaceful facade is quickly derailed, however, when upset and unrest arises at the arrival of the first black family into the neighbourhood. Next door to them are the Lodge's - Gardner (Matt Damon), his wheelchair-bound wife Rose, her sister Margaret (Julianne Moore), and Gardner and Rose's son Nicky (Noah Jupe) - who are really the main focus of the film, dealing with their own dramas and hiding their own dark secrets. There is more than meets the eye to the town of Suburbicon.

Suburbicon tries to juggle too much. The film deals with its central storyline with the Lodge's, the racial-subplot of the African-American family moving into the town, whilst also trying hard to be an allegory for what's going on in the lives of white folks, as well as a satirical and political jab at modern America too. It's way too hectic and messy. The film is very muddied as a result and, instead of simplifying the proceedings a little and making a tighter, more cohesive film, Clooney has bitten off more than he can chew. But he can't even swallow, and nothing works in this mishmash of ideas. The humour is present and the screenplay can be rather witty at times; the performances from the A-list cast are all pretty great (especially Oscar Isaac's seedy insurance investigator Bud Cooper) but it's not enough to save this. Suburbicon is all too sporadic, heavy-handed, convoluted, and just tedious to really shine as it perhaps could have. The film certainly has its moments but they're too few and far between to succeed and, instead, Clooney's latest, like the titular fictional town itself, seems like a pretty-looking, idealistic crime caper at first but is a piping hot mess beneath the surface of its over-polish.

Suburbicon is a piping hot mess; it's too hectic and uneven to flourish and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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