The Coen Brothers' script has a fair amount of pep to it but the overly mechanical plot vectors let the film down. The jaunt around 50s stereotypes is also a bit familiar. The subplot, which would make a decent film in its own right, is made to carry too much water for far too light a pay-off. A messy, uneven film.
occasionally funny in a classic Cohenesque way, but with none of the subtlety and upturned expectations of a vintage Cohens script (which, strictly speaking, this is not). Beyond the slapstick it is nothing but a lazy, moralistic 'critique' of post-war American triumphalism with a tired, hagiographical nod to the civil rights movement.
This film could have worked as a neo-noir, dark comedy, or social commentary. But, Clooney just can't make any of it work. As a neo-noir, it's surprisingly dull. As a comedy, it seems confused about where the humor should be. As a commentary, it doesn't offer any unique perspectives and the racial subplot has no real payoff. It may have slivers of cleverness, but it's mostly a disappointing misfire.
Matt Damon this time chimes in for his friend Clooney - A script from the Coens' leftover vault on typical small-town grimy shenanigans frankensteined with Serious Historical Racial Subtext... for no discernible purpose, mixing in these two nerve centers like water and olive oil. A very, very awkward film that is only saved by the dark Coenish murder mystery and Oscar Isaac. Oscar Isaac is great.
3/10. A couple of good scenes and a few bouts of snappy dialogue can't really save SUBURBICON. Clooney seems to struggle with the tone. Furthermore, the racial tensions in the film serve largely as set pieces, making their inclusion at all somewhat uncomfortable.