In a typical, suburban American town where nothing seems to happen, a home invasion sparks of a chain of events that may change the town forever.
Suburbicon is as all-white as a town in the 50s America could be. Perfectly manicured lawns, identical looking homes and a place where nothing spectacular ever happens. It's a place described very well in Pete Seeger's song folk song 'Little Boxes'. Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) almost personifies the town's character. Clean-cut and subdued, he works a mid-level job and lives with his wife Rose, her twin sister Margret (Julianne Moore) and his little son Nicky (Noah Jupe). Two things happen that suddenly start exposing the ugly side of Suburbicon. The first is when a black family arrives in town and you get to see the blatant racism and hate shown to them by the sweet, townsfolk. The second is when two robbers break into Gardner's home and kill his wife Rose by overdosing her with chloroform. With these two plots running parallel, filmmaker George Clooney along with fellow writers, the Coen brothers, takes the viewers on a journey into the psyche of suburban America. As racial tensions heat up around the town, with the townsfolk inciting a riot around the black family's house, Gardner's life spins out of control given that he, too, harbours a dark secret.
One can see the mark of Coen brothers all through the film. Be it the set, the design, or even with the characters; you get that familiar, 'Fargo' vibe, which is a good thing. Production is top notch and the 50s are bought to life perfectly. The film's biggest strength though is the acting by the entire cast. Young Noah Jupe as Nicky Gardner delivers a nuanced performance as a kid who has just lost his mother and is coming to terms with the world around him. Matt Damon, too, is fantastic and delivers a measured performance as a man slowly going to bits. Oscar Isaac as the swarthy insurance agent is darkly funny, as he corners the family and derives sadistic pleasure in doing that. Music by Alexandre Desplat adds brilliantly to the tension in scenes.
With the terrific potential the script has, the climax feels very easy and drawn out. A film with a wonderfully complex first half deserves a second one that matches. The banal simplicity is what is off-putting. Still, 'Suburbicon' is worth a watch for the spectacular performances.