SUBURBICON (MA) ★★★
Starring: Review by: In cinemas: NOT everything is as it seems in the picture-perfect 1950s suburbia.
The immaculate Lodge family home is invaded by a group of criminals and the wheelchair-bound matriarch (Julianne Moore) is murdered.
The incident rocks the cookie cutter, white picket fence suburb, but also coincides with the arrival of the first African-american family.
The riot-prone white locals are convinced that both events are inextricably linked.
Meanwhile, insurance investigator (Oscar Isaac) begins to suspect that Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) and his wife’s twin sister Margaret (Julianne Moore) plotted the murder for the insurance payout and plan to run off together.
Switch out a kidnapping for a murder, ransom for insurance and snowy locations for sunny suburbia and this plays out like a re-dressed Fargo.
There’s also the cash strapped, nerdy-looking husband and bouts of graphic violence played out for laughs.
Suburbicon certainly shares similar DNA to the 1996 classic, being that it is co-written by the same blokes Joel and Ethan Coen, who revel in ordinary people doing bad things and getting their comeuppance.
George Clooney taps into his best Coen impression behind the camera; Suburbicon is competently filmed and the story well-delivered, the cast also serviceable.
However, there is that sense of deja vu that is unshakable.
The race-related subplot also seems out of place.
You get what that part of the story represents – whites are rubbish people and hypocritical trash – but feels like it has been spliced in from a completely different film.
Clooney can’t quite mesh it in successfully with the murder plot/insurance scam part of the film.
Perhaps a Fargo rewatch may be in order.
Julianne Moore and Matt Damon in Suburbicon.