Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac
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A superbly realised film that is paced to perfection.
Suburbicon is a tense, smart, timely family heist film directed by George Clooney adapting the Coen Brothers script. The mining of ‘50s style, themes and narratives provides a rich vein of social critique and it is clear that the art department had fun, from the cars to the font of the credits; everything flows with modernity and the promise of optimistic future prosperity and outright greed.
Like all heist films, things go wrong, very wrong. The moment you have a kid involved the stakes get very high, very quick. Performances are outstanding, with Oscar Isaac perfect as the insurance investigator and Julianne Moore eating up the scenery as a ‘50s glamorous housewife. Matt Damon is starting to own the suburban dad-bod in a performance that is at once straight out of Straw Dogs and Mr Ed – the tooth grinding composure is great. We see the world from little Nicky’s perspective and he is impeccably performed with wide-eyed disbelief by Noah Jupe giving the film an urgency and a heart that drives it on one long breath. But it is the support cast of goons, housewives, neighbours and cops that really make this memorable.
The relevance of the ‘50s to today is manifest in that the double indemnity scam happens against the backdrop of the first steps of racial integration when the Meyers, an African-American family moves into Suburbicon – a proudly white upper-middle class community and the extremes that the white community go to drive them out. Their stoicism provides a fine counterpoint to the madness happening next door. The growing connection over baseball between Nicky and Andy Meyers (Tony Espinosa) points to a brighter future.
A superbly realised film that is paced to perfection and at once a critique and a celebration of the 1950s – smart, engaging and timely.