Suburbicon – 1.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Suburbicon – 1.5/5 – Going to the movies is always an experience.  No matter how good or bad a movie may be, you are always in for some form of entertainment.  When I go to the theaters, there is always an innate feeling that I will see something you have never seen before.  Even in stories that repeat elements of the past, you still find something to smile for.  Every now and then, you have an experience that leaves you beyond belief.  That belief is not how great, good or fun the film is, but how potential could be soiled for the worst.  Suburbicon has a lot of star power behind it (acting, directing and writing), but it fails to execute anything worth enjoyment.  This is a film that will leave you speechless for all the wrong reasons.

Premise: It is a perfect Suburb, but when you actually live it, it is more than it seems.

The acting list is one that screams amazing.  From big to small names, you can refer to the complete list at the film’s IMDb page.  The main characters are played by Julianne Moore, Matt Damon and (to a less extent) Oscar Isaac.  These three are the only ones that attempt to do anything defined as ‘acting’.  They provide that unique bravado you would expect from a satirical based story.  These three provide the color, dynamic and chemistry that rivals any of their ‘average’ work.  In their characters, you get a sense of layered vigor.  This produces that awkward shadiness that hides behind a bright and innocent smile.  Even when they fall into the clichés of cartoonish caricatures, they still juxtapose the setting of the suburbs.  If it wasn’t for these three, the whole ensemble would be considered a mess.  The secondary characters are simply, terrible.  The one-note dramatic archetypes are so dry because of their lack thereof attempt at the dry script.  They are there only to read lines and populate the suburbs of the film.

The direction is a complete mess.  This is a sad thing to say for a film written by the Coen Brothers and directed by George Clooney.  From the beginning, there is no defined plot, goal or journey.  What you have is a series of attempts at satire that is supposed to counter the ‘ideal’ nature of the setting.  With an aspect of idealization (like the Coen brothers do), they do not provide any development into why we are in this fictional suburb.  From thematic issues that are part of the social climate, you get scenes that become a window into the ‘idea’ without any kind of real background.  As this happens, you have two plot threads that are forced to connect to each other.  As these plot threads move in a point A to B fashion, all you get is dry dialogue, unsurprising twists and misfires of dark humor.  It is hard to comprehend this in a basic three act format.  I can only describe this film as:

An attempt at ‘thematic’ satire > conflict ensues > exposition between (input character) > telegraph outcome > move to another attempt at ‘thematic’ satire.

At the heart of the problem is the script.  There is no context for plot progression.  If you’re going to tackle social themes on a character level, then flesh out characters.  Having no background reason for ‘why’ just creates a hollow tone when pivotal situations occurs.  Adding to the script problems is that every outcome is obviously telegraphed.  You see where everything is leading to, creating a climax that fails to connect at any level for the audience.  Once all the convenient plot points resolve, there isn’t a clear defining moment for the characters.  You just leave the theater with more confusion.  In the end, you question what the point of the film was.

The visuals are something of a positive.  With a unique backdrop of what is an ‘ideal’ suburb, it provides a colorful contrast to the actions of the characters.  This add some worth, but only for brief moments.  The score is unimportant to anything going on in the story.

Suburbicon is a complete disappointment.  From all that is behind the making of this motion picture, you would expect more.  It all begins and ends with a lack of any real development in the script.  Because of this, everything just falls on its face.  I would not recommend this to anyone, even fans of the actors involved.  At most it would be a rental; it is a forgettable film.

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