by Greg Vellante

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday October 27, 2017

Matt Damon stars in 'Suburbicon'
Matt Damon stars in 'Suburbicon'  

There are good films, and there are bad films, but perhaps the most frustrating type of film is one with failed potential. "Suburbicon" is one of these films. It comes to us from director George Clooney, who began his filmmaking career with a duo of excellent films: 2002's "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" (still his best film) and 2005's "Good Night and Good Luck" (his second-best film). From here, Clooney exponentially dipped in quality with uneven films like "Leatherheads" (2008), "The Ides of March" (2011) and "The Monuments Men" (2014, and this should've been the nail in the coffin).

Now we have "Suburbicon," an ugly, unfocused mess of a movie that finds Clooney either A.) completely phoning it in, or B.) proving that he has somehow forgotten how to direct a film. Boring and lifeless, "Suburbicon" trucks along at an agonizing 105 minutes that feels like 105 days, with constant echoes of the film that could have been. Originally written by the Coen brothers (then redrafted by Clooney and Grant Heslov), you can sense the Coen-esque world being built here only to be torn down by unnecessary posturing and lazy filmmaking.

"Suburbicon" is founded upon classic Coen comedy archetypes, where stupid, greedy protagonists become involved in a multi-layered plot involving money, backstabbing and shocking, sudden acts of violence. But I spent the entire film imagining what this would look like with another Coen draft and their eyes behind the camera. Instead, we get sluggishly-paced scenes of establishing shots and close-ups, all set to a wallpaper score by the king of wallpaper scores, Alexandre Desplat (I knew it was him before his name even showed up in the final credits).

All in all, this is missed opportunity after missed opportunity -- a failed experiment that only comes to life once, when Oscar Issac briefly enters the picture to stir some much-needed energy into the pot. Everything else is like a fish flopping on the ground, clinging to its final moments of existence. As the lead, this is one of Matt Damon's worst performance. Julianne Moore, my favorite actress, plays two roles and I can't even justify her contributions. She gives it her all, but the content is just so bad.

Worst of all, the story attempts to work an undertone of commentary on white privilege and the broken American Dream into the film, but it's all so obvious and heavy-handed. At one point, there's a shot involving a black man, a Confederate flag, and the chaos that surrounds them. It is framed so blatantly, it's so full of itself, that my eyes rolled into the back of my head until I could see my brain. In this moment, my brain pleaded with me ... "Make it stop."


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