I am a huge Coen Brothers fan. Whether they are just writing or writing and directing, I know there movies are going to be good in some way so it’s heartbreaking when you come across one that’s just flat-out disappointing, especially when it had the potential to be good. Suburbicon is that movie and it pains me to say that it’s a bad movie. The concept was great. The cast was first rate. However, the movie just couldn’t get to where it should have gone despite all of this and let’s face it, there’s a certain subtlety that goes with making a great dark comedy. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do, but I would have had no doubt until now that the Coen brothers with George Clooney directing could have pulled it off. After all, George Clooney as a director made a really good film called Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
Suburbicon is supposed to be a dark comedy about life in 1950s Suburbia where everything seems great and perfectly content, but then it’s not when you have a father plotting murder for an insurance policy while being hunted by mob figures and a crooked claim specialist. Like I said the concept should be funny in the 1950s suburban setting especially with the cast, but it just falls flat. And then you add this distracting sub story about the only African American couple who moves into a white middle class suburban neighborhood and it turns everybody into crazies from down south who can’t stand integration. I don’t know if that was meant to be funny based on how everybody reacted or some kind of political commentary in support of black lives matter. Whatever the case maybe it, wasn’t funny and it didn’t add to making anybody aware that there is still racism in America.
Don’t get me wrong there are some funny moments in the film and it does has some great ironical comedy like in the beginning when all of the white neighborhood citizens are crying for their own civil rights while somebody get petition to have the one black couple removed. I will admit that I laughed very hard at that scene. But it isn’t enough to make this a good movie.
George Clooney has turned into a pretty good director and I definitely think he knows how to tell a story. Good Night and Good Luck is an incredible film and he certainly knows how to be funny in a dark comedy like one of my favorite Coen Brother movies, Men Who Stare At Goats. But it’s almost like he couldn’t decide what was meant to be funny with this film and just missed the point as a director when doing a dark comedy. Perhaps he’s just a better actor when it comes to these kinds of films than he is a director. It also makes me wonder whether the script went through multiple rewrites from its original inception by the Coen brothers and suffered like most bad films where it got so convoluted that the filmmakers thought they could film their way out of the mess.
There should definitely be a good dark comedy about life in the suburbs and there was one about eight years ago it was called Fido where zombies were turned into pets after this great zombie war. This was all set up in a 1950s suburban community and that film hit the mark every time when it came to its dark comedic themes. This is just an example of what a dark comedy should be in 1950s Suburbia.
Overall, while there are some moments that make you laugh and all of the actors do their best being creepy and funny at the same time. I especially love Oscar Isaac’s character who was probably my favorite in the film. And Julianne Moore is always good in a Coen Brothers movie. But Suburbicon is too convoluted and suffers from two very warped storylines that while they could be funny, just overlap each other and take away from what the film should be in a good dark comedy. Plus, it doesn’t help when the movie starts out too slow and doesn’t really pick up until about halfway into it. That makes for a very long, unfunny fifty minutes. I’m so disappointed by what could have been a good film that I really just want to forget that it happened. If you have to see this movie then just rent it at Redbox for a buck-fifty and be done with it.