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Critics reviews
Suburbicon
George Clooney United States, 2017
Suburbicon" feels like a last gasp of some kind of middle. It thinks it’s both frivolous and serious. But, for that, you need a touch that George Clooney’s never had. So one feels pitted against the other. He seems determined to take his usual mix of earnestness and square sense of humor into some approximation of the civil rights era.
November 03, 2017
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Wondering if Suburbicon would have been a better movie had its original authors made it themselves… is a fun enough thought experiment… But it’s also genuinely frustrating, because there are elements in the recognizably Coenesque portion of Suburbicon that show the most cinema-savvy filmmakers around playing with the themes and iconography of two crucial midcentury movies [Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt and Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life].
October 30, 2017
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The black characters never rise above strong, silent abstractions: stereotypes, in other words… A smarter movie would’ve offered up those characters with a wink and a nudge, alluding to the fact that their proud silence is more or less how it goes in well-meaning movies like this one. No dice—and to think this is all in service of a movie whose ideas never grow much richer than what was telegraphed in its opening frames.
October 27, 2017
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One problem is that Mr. Clooney seems to believe in happy endings, however hard-earned, while the Coens — whose presence hovers throughout — are the kind of pessimists who laugh in the dark. The tones and worldviews don’t jibe. The greater, graver flaw, though, the one that empties “Suburbicon” out and turns it into a mannerist exercise, is that the movie reproduces the inequality it’s ostensibly outraged by. This has less to do with star power and everything to do with emphasis and interest.
October 26, 2017
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Damon is a shapeless lump at the center of this film, but amid the strained skullduggery and tract-housing dress-up, Clooney does succeed in staging something resonant through parallel narrative alone: Damon’s white company grifter brings all his trouble and strife upon himself, while his neighbors’ lives are ruined through absolutely no fault of their own.
September 18, 2017
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When one of the clannish Suburbicon residents hangs a Confederate flag on the Meyers’s house, you want to slap Clooney upside the head for his hamfisted attempt at sociopolitical currency. And in Nicky, Clooney sees hope for a future generation that can hopefully move past the all-consuming bigotries of its ancestors. Though to this end, the film’s final, meant-to-be-inspirational image only manages to attain Stanley Kramer-ish levels of naïveté and obtuseness.
September 08, 2017
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On paper (where it was doubtlessly first written, probably with a typewriter, 30 years ago) Joel and Ethan Coen’s script for Suburbicon evokes sinister, postwar domestic melodramas like Shadow of a Doubt and Bigger Than Life. On screen, as directed by George Clooney, it evokes—or, more accurately, pilfers, poorly and to no discernible purpose—the paranoid-thriller wing of the Coens’ own filmography.
September 06, 2017
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George Clooney’s statement-making black comedy Suburbicon is a misfire on nearly all counts. There are times when festival movies leave you wondering what, exactly, the filmmaker is trying to say. With Suburbicon, there’s not much doubt: The movie’s themes are as obvious and slick as the fins of a Cadillac, polished to an artificially bright gleam. It’s a nearly two-hour-long advertisement for its own progressive ideals.
September 04, 2017
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Does the narrative grafting work? Not so much. While Clooney is too deft a filmmaker to ever go Full Stanley Kramer, the toggling between Depraved White Rot (Damon’s Lodge and his sister-in-law Maggie, played by Julianne Moore, have concocted a murder scheme staggering in its crassness) and the dignity of the black family being subjected to all manner of torment often feels rather arbitrary.
September 02, 2017
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A solid, pleasing piece, even if it never quite reaches the bleak heights its set-up promises… Production values are pin-point perfect and Suburbicon will be helped by its cast, its parallels to the situation America finds itself in again today thanks to Charlottesville, and Clooney’s household name. Hearts may not beat quite as fast as for his earlier work, however.
September 02, 2017
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[The Coens’] voice is so unmistakable that it rather swamps Clooney’s more sincere, classical style, which only comes through in a subplot stitched into the screenplay by Clooney and Grant Heslov. The joints show, making the enjoyable but just-not-quite-there “Suburbicon” feel like Clooney taking the mic for some pretty decent Coens karaoke, only to occasionally add in a sort of serious, spoken-word interlude about the burning issue that remains the brothers’ biggest blind spot: race in America.
September 02, 2017
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