‘Suburbicon’: George Clooney Says His New Film Co-Written by the Coen Brothers Isn’t a Comedy: ‘It’s Very, Very Dark’ It premieres later this month at Venice. Margaret attempts to poison Nicky with a sandwich and milk after he eavesdropped on her conversation with Cooper and contacted his Uncle Mitch for help. [20], Suburbicon began filming in Fullerton, 30 miles south of Los Angeles, in October 2016. Soon after her sister's death, Margaret begins to transform herself into Rose, dyeing her hair blonde and having sex with Gardner. Suburbicon wants to be a fable and a comedy, a screed and an entertaining indictment. The result is a messy Supreme Court case. But they quickly begin to suffer the indignities and anger of Suburbicon’s white residents, who are vocally appalled that they now have to live near those people, shouting en masse at a town meeting and not masking their racism in any way. But “heavy handed” is too generous of a description for how it’s carried out. The company is now seeking Food and Drug Administration approval. What could go wrong? Aunt Maggie moves into the house full-time, while her brother Mitch (Gary Basaraba) tells his nephew to call any time he needs him. The idea that emerges is that while the crowds of white neighbors gather to holler at the Meyers, there’s actual violence and murder going on right next door, and nobody knows. Trump wants to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census. So they elected to combine it with a second story about racial integration in suburban communities. Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac star in George Clooney’s Suburbicon, written by the Coen brothers. George Clooney Again Lined Up to Direct ‘Suburbicon’ from Coen Brothers. The tranquil surface masks a disturbing reality, as husband and father Gardner Lodge must navigate the town's dark underbelly of betrayal, deceit, and violence. The film stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Noah Jupe, and Oscar Isaac, and follows a mild-mannered father who must face his demons after a home invasion shakes his quaint neighborhood in 1959. Romance & Cigarettes (2006) - film produced by the Coens and written and directed by John Turturro. “Remember what happened in Baltimore!” they say. Mitch arrives and saves Nicky by shooting Louis dead. newsletter, TIFF 2017: Toronto International Film Festival news and movie reviews, Why TIFF matters, and 4 other things to know about the Toronto International Film Festival, Suburbicon shows what happens when a Coen brothers script goes very wrong, In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, a Greek myth becomes a family’s descent into hell, One Good Thing: An amazing game played entirely via text message, 11 films to watch if you loved — or hated — Hillbilly Elegy, On the rebellious joy of a long, long movie dance scene, The true story behind Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving staple, “Alice’s Restaurant”, 11 great ways to pass the time this holiday weekend, A criminal justice expert’s guide to donating effectively right now, This man has donated at least 10% of his salary to charity for 11 years running, Ajit Pai, Trump’s FCC chair who repealed net neutrality, is leaving on January 20, Don’t wait: The case for giving sooner rather than later. Even after the economy recovers, advertising alone will never be enough to support it. Directed by George Clooney and written by the Coen Brothers. The latter plot is minimized in service of the former, and while the intent is clear — the Lodges’ treachery becomes even more absurd by contrast with the Meyers’ actual trouble — in execution, it just feels like the second story is being sidelined. It ended up debuting to $2.8 million, finishing 9th at the box office. Here, though, the screenplay is in the hands of George Clooney, who along with his regular collaborator Grant Heslov shares a screenwriting credit with the Coens. Rose is in a wheelchair after a car accident, and Aunt Maggie is around frequently to help out with the housework and look after Nicky. While you’re fixated on the straw man threat of the people who don’t look like you, you’re blowing yourselves apart. Sign up for the Instead, it’s a baffling bummer, a misfire of epic proportions. They’re very encouraging. One is the Coen-style plot, about a wholesome family man named Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon), his young son Nicky (Noah Jupe), his blonde wife Rose (Julianne Moore), and his brunette sister-in-law Maggie (also Julianne Moore). It is loosely based on a 1957 incident in Levittown, Pennsylvania, in which a black family moved into the previously all-white neighborhood, leading to racism and violence against th… [19] In August 2017, it was reported that Brolin had been cut from the final edit of the film. Suburbicon is recognizably Coenesque. Arriving home, he finds the bodies of Margaret, Mitch, and Louis, and gets Nicky out of the closet. He developed a talent for film editing and met Sam Raimi while assisting Edna Ruth Paul in editing Raimi's first feature film, The Evil Dead (1981). Amazon and the pandemic are the final blows. [22], Paramount Pictures released the film in the United States on October 27, 2017. It has an absurdist premise and a familiar-feeling Fargo variant of a plot: Nice family guy plots to off his wife for the insurance money, and then things go sideways. It’s a stand-in for the most instantly recognizable version of the American Dream, with the picket fence and the driveway and the happy family just waiting to be skewered gleefully by filmmakers half a century later. [24], Suburbicon grossed $5.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $4.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $10.2 million, against a production budget of $25 million. The most important book I’ve read this year. Again — not a terrible idea. A crowd — small at first, but increasingly larger and louder — surround the house, yelling, beating on drums, and eventually turning violent in indignation that the Meyers would even believe they could live among them. Suburbicon is a 2017 American black comedy film[7] written and directed by George Clooney, and co-written by the Coen brothers and Grant Heslov. Suburbicon played at the Toronto International Film Festival and opens in US theaters on October 27. Alas: Something in Suburbicon went sideways on the way to the big screen. In this secondary plot, a black family, the Meyers, move into the house next door to the Lodges. Intelligencer Nicky is smarter than his father gives him credit for, and he smells a rat, especially when Gardner and Maggie fail to identify the robbers in a lineup. Then one night, thieves break into the house and chloroform the whole family, including Nicky, who wakes up in the hospital to discover that Rose has died. Matt Damon and Julianne Moore set to star in George Clooney's Suburbicon. the film seems to say. As a 1950s suburban community self-destructs, a home invasion has sinister consequences for one seemingly normal family. Clooney’s previous efforts as a director (Good Night and Good Luck, The Monuments Men) often revisit bits of history to see what they have to say to us today. There are two movies happening in Suburbicon. [9] On December 8, 2015, Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Josh Brolin joined the cast;[16] Oscar Isaac and Woody Harrelson later signed on, as well. Paris, je t'aime (2006) - TUILERIES - an entertaining sequence by the Coen brothers. And the Coen brothers wrote the screenplay, you say? Fix your own house. Look! The death of the department store and the American middle class. Clooney loves old movies, and it shows stylistically when he makes them — their pacing, editing, and actors’ line delivery feels more from Hollywood’s Golden Age than its present. And that kind of work takes resources. He offers Nicky a choice: he can go along with a plan to cash out an insurance claim and run away to Aruba, or Gardner will kill him and blame his death on Sloan and Louis. Gardner leaves to hide his body, trailed by Sloan. It is loosely based on a 1957 incident in Levittown, Pennsylvania, in which a black family moved into the previously all-white neighborhood, leading to racism and violence against the family. What they can’t survive is a bad screenplay. The black people are here to serve the white story, again. [21] Alexandre Desplat composed the film's score. He tells Gardner that he knows the nature of his and Margaret's insurance fraud plan and attempts to blackmail them into giving him their entire payout in exchange for his silence. But that might give the impression that either film works on their own, which is false. Joel David Coen (born November 29, 1954) and Ethan Jesse Coen (born September 21, … The next morning, Gardner is dead, having consumed Margaret's poisoned sandwich and milk during his conversation with Nicky. Nicky calmly goes outside to play ball with Andy, the son of the African-American family next door, after the family has cleaned up the remnants of the previous night's riot. One night, two robbers, Sloan and Louis, break into the Lodge family home, tie the entire family up and kill Rose with an overdose of chloroform. A lot, as it turns out. If you have already made a contribution to Vox, thank you. The very beginning of the film — an ad for a planned community called Suburbicon, full of nice, moral, white families — sets it up as a fable; Suburbicon isn’t located anywhere in particular, and it doesn’t have an origin or an impetus for being. Perhaps in surer directorial hands, this could work; if you squint, you can make out the outlines of that better film. What actually happens is that a murderous, bloody screwball plot happens in one house; just across the yard, a hollering crowd of angry racists threatens the Meyers’ life. The film cuts in real footage of white women from the mid-century talking about how they want the freedom to choose to live with other white people, which is obviously intended to remind us that what is happening in Suburbicon isn’t fantasy. The weekend marked the lowest wide opening of Clooney's directorial credits, and of Matt Damon's career, and the 32nd worst-ever opening for a film playing in over 2,000 theaters. But it doesn’t matter. Mitch gives Nicky a gun and hides him in the closet before succumbing to a stab wound inflicted by Louis. And that would in theory be a good match for Suburbicon, which is set in a cheery planned suburban community in the 1950s. There was some pretty slapstick stuff.” Which helps explain why Suburbicon ended up … The increasingly suspicious Nicky does not eat the sandwich and, as Margaret is admitting defeat, Louis strangles her to death before heading upstairs to deal with Nicky. The directing duo of Joel and Ethan Coen has done some great work with American treasure George Clooney. Here, it just feels like all subtext has been converted not so much to text as to some kind of super-text, a message rendered in blinding neon, and a too-easy one at that. The Coen brothers wrote “Suburbicon” but never produced it, and it turns out that they knew best. We all — or at least a lot of us — recognize the disgusting display of the racists as bad and evil. [29] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "D–" on an A+ to F scale. With Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac, Noah Jupe. The images of crowds of angry white neighbors seem lifted from images of crowds during efforts to integrate public schools and other places. Michael Nordine [26], David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Suburbicon is just too obvious in its satirical depiction of the dubious morality and social inequality behind the squeaky-clean façade of postwar American life, though it's watchable enough, and a distinct improvement for Clooney on his last directorial outing. Suburbicon premiered in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2017,[11] then screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 27, 2017. Even Amy Coney Barrett appears skeptical of Trump’s latest attempt to rig the census. It’s an in-between thing, inspired by other states of being without achieving them. The neighbors begin to put up fences so they don’t have to see the Meyers. If you haven’t, help us keep our journalism free for everyone by making a financial contribution today, from as little as $3. [23], Suburbicon was released on Digital HD on January 23, 2018, and on Blu-ray and DVD on February 6, 2018. Suburbicon is a movie that doesn't deserve the overwhelmingly negative critics it gets. Margaret moves in to help take care of Nicky. [25] However, after making $1.1 million on its first day, weekend estimates were lowered to $3 million. But Suburbicon is set in the suburban post-war boom, and that feels like an especially cheap shot. Along with the Oscar-winning Coen brothers, the screenplay for Suburbicon is also co-written by Clooney and his frequent collaborator, Grant Heslov (Good Night and … Only in the case of the film, it’s stuck between the bumbling middle-class crimes of the Coen Brothers and Clooney… [26] It dropped 59% in its second weekend to $1.2 million, finishing 13th at the box office. How climate change will force humanity to rethink capitalism, borders, terrorism, and currency. In the quaint mid-century planned community Suburbicon, the … [27], On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 28% based on 250 reviews, with an average rating of 4.94/10. Mrs. Meyers (Karimah Westbrook) wears the same dresses as the white ladies next door, and little Andy (Tony Espinosa) plays baseball. His lawsuits have flopped, certifications are proceeding on schedule, and state legislatures aren’t seriously trying to interfere. "[28] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 42 out of 100, based on 49 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". This isn't unusual for a script by the talented Coen brothers but Suburbicon is particularly out-thought and precise. Matt Damon stars as a … The movie is an ambitious mixture of a crime flick, dark comedy and social drama in almost equal parts. (Courtesy Paramount Pictures) Working from an old screenplay the Coen brothers abandoned back in … [12] It received mixed reviews from critics and criticism for its plot, and earned only $12 million at the box office against its $25 million budget.[13]. That’s the first Suburbicon, and it’s supposed to be pretty ridiculous, a tale of crime that does not pay and the swaggering idiots who try to pull it off anyway. The first trailer for George Clooney’s 1950s-set crime comedy-drama Suburbicon has been released.. Co-written by Joel and Ethan Coen, Suburbicon stars Matt Damon as Gardner Lodge, a … The site's critical consensus reads, "A disappointing misfire for director George Clooney, Suburbicon attempts to juggle social satire, racial commentary, and murder mystery — and ends up making a mess of all three. In 1959, the peaceful, all-white neighborhood of Suburbicon is shaken up by the arrival of an African-American family, the Mayers. That night, as a prolonged protest at the home of the new African-American residents turns into a riot, Cooper returns to talk directly to Gardner. [17] On August 31, 2016, Noah Jupe and Glenn Fleshler joined, to play Damon's character's son and a hitman, respectively. A lot. "[30], "Box Office: 'Jigsaw' to Piece Together $20 Million Opening", "Woody Harrelson joins the cast of George Clooney's Suburbicon", 'Suburbicon' Review: A Rare Miss For Clooney, Damon, and the Coens|Digital Trends, "The Real-Life Racial Battle That Inspired George Clooney's 'Suburbicon, "George Clooney's 'Suburbicon' tells racially charged story of Bucks County's Levittown", "Venice Competition Includes Films From George Clooney, Guillermo del Toro, Darren Aronofsky", "Toronto Film Festival 2017 Unveils Strong Slate", "Producer Joel Silver on 'The Nice Guys', 'Sherlock Holmes 3′, and Joss Whedon's 'Wonder Woman, "Matt Damon, Julianne Moore And Josh Brolin To Star In George Clooney's Coens-Penned 'Suburbicon, "Woody Harrelson to star in George Clooney's Suburbicon", "George Clooney's 'Suburbicon' Adds 'Night Manager,' 'Night Of' Actors (Exclusive)", "Woody Harrelson on 'LBJ', Trump and Spandex", "Josh Brolin was cut from final version of Suburbicon", "Earlier this month, George Clooney found the quiet family town of Suburbicon in Fullerton", "Alexandre Desplat to Score George Clooney's 'Suburbicon, "George Clooney's Suburbicon sets award season release date", "Jigsaw' Looks To Keep 'Saw' Franchise Sharp During Pre-Halloween Weekend With $20M+ Opening", "Horror Has Few Scares At B.O. “The Coen brothers wrote them very similar to the guys in Fargo. Reportedly, “Suburbicon” began as a 1986 screenplay written by the brothers Coen, who’d just smashed their way into movie-lovers’ consciousness with their amazing1984 film, “Blood Simple.” What could go wrong? Soon afterward, Sloan shows up at Gardner's job and demands the money that he owes him and Louis - payment for killing Rose. Racism is alive and well today; we’ve been watching it unfold on the news and on Twitter within recent weeks. Margaret poisons his coffee with lye, and Gardner stabs him with a fireplace poker to finish him off. Support free explanatory journalism. The cast includes Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac. [15], The film was eventually made ten years later, combining two previously unrelated scripts,[10] one a crime film by the Coens, and one a historical drama based on the real-life story of the Myers family, the only black family in all-white Levittown, Pennsylvania who faced racially-charged harassment and violence from other residents. When Gardner refuses to pay, Sloan and Louis plan to return to his house and kill Nicky and Margaret. Suburbicon shows what happens when a Coen brothers script goes very wrong, Trump’s attempt to overturn the election result has sputtered out. A movie about white, suburban America burning itself alive while blaming its self-immolation on the black neighbors down the street seems like it could be great. Oscar Isaac as Bud Cooper in "Suburbicon." It happened. According to producer Joel Silver, Joel and Ethan Coen originally wrote the script for Suburbicon in 1986, soon after the release of their film Blood Simple. Cooper tells Margaret he suspects her and Gardner of murdering Rose to collect on her policy, and Margaret kicks him out of the house. Most movies can survive a middling score, a misguided performance, or an unimaginative premise. [5], In the United States and Canada, Suburbicon was released alongside Thank You for Your Service and Jigsaw, and was projected to gross around $8 million from 2,046 theaters in its opening weekend. And the Coen brothers wrote the screenplay, you say? After graduating from New York University, Joel worked as a production assistant on a variety of industrial films and music videos. The Meyers in nearly every way live a lifestyle that is identical to their neighbors’, at least outwardly. So it’s not all that useful to point to a fictionalized past and sneer. (And for the record, rumor has it that a version of the racial integration plot was present in the Coens’ original script.) By Pete Hammond. Suburbicon From a script by the Coen brothers and starring Matt Damon, Clooney’s directorial effort takes aim at the suffocating hypocrisy of … And that’s a shame. Suburbicon is a 2017 American black comedy film written and directed by George Clooney, and co-written by the Coen brothers and Grant Heslov. Get our newsletter in your inbox twice a week. As 'Jigsaw' Dulls To $16M+, 'Suburbicon' Condemned With D- CinemaScore", "2017 San Diego Film Critics Society's Award Nominations", "A Venezia il Green Drop Award al film più ecologista", "Queer Lion a Venezia: 9 film in gara per il Leone Gay", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Suburbicon&oldid=991142442, Films with screenplays by the Coen brothers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Young British/Irish Performer of the Year, Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Teen Actor, This page was last edited on 28 November 2020, at 14:06. Someone seems to have thought this premise wasn’t “important” enough, though. It’s tempting to criticize George Clooney’s “Suburbicon” as two films that never quite coalesce into one complete whole, which is partially true. ‘Suburbicon’ Review: George Clooney, Coen Brothers & Matt Damon Seem Like A Dream Team, But The Results Disappoint. But the whole thing starts unraveling when an insurance adjuster (Oscar Isaac, who is the best part of this film by far) stops by the house to investigate the claim Gardner has filed after Rose’s death. And as the strange occurrences start to happen at the Lodges’ house, Suburbicon residents remark among themselves that nothing like this ever happened before that family moved to town. But instead it’s just a spectacular flop. Our work is well-sourced, research-driven, and in-depth. It makes a run at cleverness, trying to be a dark screwball commentary on America’s race problem. George Clooney fails to deliver the biting indictment of white America he promises. Millions of people rely on Vox to understand how the policy decisions made in Washington, from health care to unemployment to housing, could impact their lives. [18], On September 27, 2016, Harrelson said in an interview that he would not be in the film due to scheduling conflicts. And a disastrously double-minded screenplay is the root of Suburbicon’s problems. The George Clooney-directed Suburbicon was announced earlier this morning as a world premiere competition entry at the Venice Film Festival. Bad Santa (2003) - film starring Billy Bob Thornton, produced by the Coens. Moderna released more Covid-19 vaccine results. On the way home from disposing of Cooper's body, Gardner is taunted by Sloan, who is suddenly killed by a fire truck. Suburbicon (DVD) : A peaceful, idyllic suburban community with affordable homes and manicured lawns, the perfect place to raise a family, and in the summer of 1959, the Lodge family is doing just that. A lot, as it turns out. Darkman (1990) – A film by friend and sometimes Collaboator … Suburbicon, George Clooney’s latest directorial effort, is a lot like suburbia in general. [9][10], Principal photography began in October 2016 in Los Angeles. Suburbicon (TBA) - film written and produced by the Coens, directed by George Clooney. Gardner Lodge, a mild-mannered family man, lives with his paraplegic wife Rose, their son Nicky and Rose's twin sister Margaret in Suburbicon. Make a contribution to Vox today. Great message, but lousy execution. Written by Joel and Ethan Coen and Clooney and Grant Heslov, the film veers back and forth between the obvious and the ridiculous. The collapse of America’s middle class crushed department stores. The Lodges are called into the police station to identify Sloan and Louis, but both Gardner and Margaret say that the police have the wrong men, even as Nicky recognizes them as his mother's murderers. The idea at its core deserves a better movie than this one. Suburbicon is recognizably Coenesque. Directed by George Clooney. [8] The film stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Noah Jupe, and Oscar Isaac, and follows a mild-mannered father who must face his demons after a home invasion shakes his quaint neighborhood in 1959. George Clooney’s Suburbicon will have its official world premiere in competition here at the Venice Film Festival tonight. [14] In 2005, it was reported that George Clooney would star in and direct Suburbicon, while the Coen brothers would produce. As tensions mount between the residents of Suburbicon and their new African-American neighbors, charismatic insurance agent Bud Cooper arrives one day when Gardner is not home and begins asking Margaret questions, looking to clear up red flags in a life insurance claim made on Rose by Gardner shortly after her death.