Taglines: Where your problems disappear.
In the bosom of Suburbicon, a family-centred, all-white utopia of manicured lawns and friendly locals, a simmering tension is brewing, as the first African-American family moves in the idyllic community, in the hot summer of 1959. However, as the patriarch Gardner Lodge and his family start catching a few disturbing glimpses of the once welcoming neighbourhood’s dark underbelly, acts of unprecedented violence paired with a gruesome death will inevitably blemish Suburbicon’s picture-perfect facade. Who would have thought that darkness resides even in Paradise?
Suburbicon is a 2017 American black comedy film directed by George Clooney and co-written by Clooney, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, and Grant Heslov. 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. It is loosely inspired on a 1957 incident in Levittown, Pennsylvania, in which a black family moved into the previously all-white neighborhood, leading to racial-charged harassment and violence against the family.
Principal photography began in October 2016 in Los Angeles. Suburbicon premiered in the main competition section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2017, then screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and was theatrically released in the United States on October 27, 2017. It received generally negative reviews from critics, who called the plot “awkwardly jammed together” and noted it as a disappointment given the talent involved, and was a box office bomb, making just $10 million against its $25 million budget.
About the Story
In 1959, the peaceful, all-white neighborhood of Suburbicon is shaken up by the arrival of an African-American family, the Mayers. Gardner Lodge, a mild-mannered man, is the father of a family in Suburbicon. One night, the home of the Lodge family is broken into by two robbers. The robbers tie the entire family up and kill the matriarch, Rose, with an overdose of chloroform. Her twin sister, Margaret, moves in to help take care of Nicky, the child of the family. Soon after her arrival, she begins to transform herself into Rose, dyeing her hair and having sex with Gardner.
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. The conversation starts out innocuously enough, but Cooper grows suspicious when Margaret refers to herself and Gardner as a couple, after which Margaret kicks him out of the house.
Meanwhile, the two robbers who killed Rose are angry at Gardner after Nicky sneaks into the viewing room for a police lineup, where Gardner and Margaret denied that the two robbers were the ones who broke into their home. They are also mad that Gardner has not paid them a sum of money they were promised for killing Rose, and grow impatient when they are unable to reach him by phone. They make a plan to return to Gardner’s house and kill Nicky and Margaret.
That night, as a prolonged protest at the home of the new African-American residents turns into a small-scale riot, Cooper returns to talk directly to Gardner. 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. Margaret poisons his coffee with lye, and Gardner stabs him with a fireplace poker to finish him off. Gardner leaves to go hide his body, trailed by one of the two robbers.
Margaret attempts to poison Nicky with a sandwich after he eavesdropped on her conversation with Cooper and contacted his Uncle Mitch for help. The increasingly-suspicious Nicky does not eat the sandwich, and as Margaret is admitting defeat, one of the robbers strangles her to death before heading upstairs to deal with Nicky, who is saved by the arrival of Mitch. Mitch gives Nicky a gun and hides him in the closet before succumbing to a stab wound given to him by the now-dead robber.
On the way home from disposing of Cooper’s body, Gardner is taunted by the other robber, who is suddenly killed by a fire truck. Arriving home, he finds the bodies of Margaret, Mitch, and the robber, and gets Nicky out of the closet. He offers Nicky a choice: go along with his plan to cash out an insurance claim and use the money to run away to Aruba, or be killed by Gardner.
Directed by: George Clooney
Starring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Noah Jupe, Oscar Isaac, Steve Monroe, Landon Gordon, Karimah Westbrook, Tony Espinosa, Michael D. Cohen, Leith M. Burke, Corey Allen Kotler, Mather Zickel
Screenplay by: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Production Design by: James D. Bissell
Cinematography by: Robert Elswit
Film Editing by: Stephen Mirrione
Costume Design by: Jenny Eagan
Set Decoration by: Jan Pascale
Art Direction by: Christa Munro
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some sexuality.
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: October 27, 2017