George Clooney depicts American dream as nightmare in ‘Suburbicon’
VENICE, Italy — Affable, handsome George Clooney was all charm at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday, but don’t be fooled.
The actor says his latest directorial effort, “Suburbicon,” is an angry movie for an angry country — his own. It’s a twisted tale of darkness at the heart of the American dream.
“A lot of us are angry — angry at ourselves, angry at the way that the country is going, angry at the way the world is going,” Clooney told reporters Saturday in Venice, Italy, where “Suburbicon” is competing for the festival’s Golden Lion prize.
Clooney was joined by his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, on the Venice red carpet Saturday.
The couple are parents of twins, born in June, and have an Italian home nearby on Lake Como.
At a news conference earlier in the day, Clooney said the U.S. now is “probably the angriest I have ever seen the country, and I lived through the Watergate period of time.”
“There is a dark cloud hanging over our country right now,” he said.
America’s divisions give an unnerving timeliness to “Suburbicon.” The satirical film noir stars Matt Damon and Julianne Moore as residents of a seemingly idyllic — and all- white — 1950s suburban community that erupts in anger when a black family moves in.
It fuses a script by the Coen brothers with a narrative about racial divisions inspired — in a negative way — by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“I was watching a lot of speeches on the campaign trail about building fences and scapegoat- ing minorities,” Clooney said.
That set Clooney and writing-producing partner Grant Heslov t o thinking about other points in United States history when forces of division were in the ascendant. They remembered 1957 events in Levittown, Pennsylvania, a model suburban community where white residents rioted at the arrival of a black family.
They fused that idea to an unproduced script by Joel and Ethan Coen about a similar white- picket-fence community where a crime goes horribly wrong in farcically bloody ways. The images of white rage in the movie feel unnervingly contemporary, recalling last month’s rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Unfortunately, these are issues that are never out of vogue in our country,” Clooney said ahead of the film’s red carpet premiere. “We are still trying to exorcise these problems. We’ve still got a lot of work to do from our original sin of slavery and racism.”
George Clooney signs autographs upon his arrival at the premiere of the film “Suburbicon” during the 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy.