Eppler: Why "Suburbicon" is altogether awful

Eppler: Why "Suburbicon" is altogether awful

"Suburbicon" is a sucker punch of a movie with audiences drawn in by a trailer selling a dark crime comedy but instead getting hit with a confused, overstuffed and altogether nasty bit of business involving child abuse and neglect and racism. 

The script, written by the Coen Brothers in the 80s and punched up by director George Clooney and co-writer Grant Heslov, is telling two stories: one is about Matt Damon as a 50s family man whose wife is killed by gangsters leaving him with their son and his wife's sister, played by Julianne Moore. The other involves a black family that just moved in next door, and they're being terrorized by the whole town of angry white people - a story that isn't even hinted at in the movie trailer or any available clips. I guess the marketers saw the movie and decided it didn't fit in the trailer because it doesn't fit in the movie, either. It feels more like an after-thought as the black characters rarely speak, are barely given names, and serve more as a symbol of oppression than anything else. Their plight is merely to serve the White story. 

It's clear Director George Clooney wanted to make a satire about America's race problem - which would be perfectly timed - but it just doesn't coalesce. 

As for the main story, it's ugly and depressing as we watch Damon's son, who is actually the main character of the piece, go through relentless emotional torture. All the performances are hard to fault, but they can't elevate this mess that is so genuinely, deeply unpleasant to watch.

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