Film Review: 1950s “Suburbicon” doesn’t work in 2017 America

Review by: Sean Foe

*Warning, this review contains spoilers*

“Suburbicon” is an interesting concept but ultimately falls short of its delivery. “Suburbicon” takes place in the 50s and attempts to tackle themes of suburbanization, race and innocence. The film follows two families living in the fictional neighborhood of Suburbicon. The Lodge family consisting of a┬ábusinessman (Matt Damon), a stay-at-home wife who was injured in a car accident (Julianne Moore), the wife’s sister (also played by Moore), and their son (Noah Jupe). The second family is African-American and the first non-white family in Suburbicon ultimately causing outrage by the town’s residents.

After a break-in at the Lodge residence, the mother is killed, and the sister moves in to help take care of the son. As the film progresses, it is discovered that Damon’s character killed his wife in order to be with her sister. As these events unravel, the hired hitmen become investigated, and an insurance claim investigator discovers the foul play; the only way for Damon to cover his tracks is to kill everyone who is getting in the way of his plan.
Simultaneously, tensions rise as the black family refuses to move out of Suburbicon. These tensions come to a head at the end of the film as neighbors and residents start to riot outside of the home all while Damon is busy dragging a dead body out of his home. In the end, Moore ends up dead after one of the hitmen kill her, and Damon dies from poisoning meant for the son. The final crane shot backs away from the white son and the black son playing catch as the audience gets a view of all of “Suburbicon.”
Here are the highs and lows featured from the 2017 thriller.
The Goods
  • Noah Jupe is an incredible actor with an amazing career ahead of him.
  • The story overall is a great concept for a film
The Bads
  • The story ultimately is confusing and requires thorough analyzation in order to uncover the real meaning of the film (i.e while you were busy arguing over a black family living in your subdivision, there was a white guy next door that is killing people.)
  • Moore playing two characters is confusing
  • The two storylines seemed forced together rather than complementing each other.
  • No solace for the son (Jupe).
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, there was so much potential for this storyline to really make a strong statement on race. Unfortunately, the delivery left the audience confused as to the true meaning of the film and its themes. Additionally, this film would be stronger if it tackled other themes. While racism is still very prominent in the United States, the level of racism that this movie tackles doesn’t seem to be beneficial or relatable to the current population. In other words, this movie would have been great if it were released in the 50s.
“Suburbicon” is now playing in theaters.