'Suburbicon': Venice Review

By Fionnuala Halligan Chief Film Critic | Screen International, September 2, 2017 | Go to article overview

'Suburbicon': Venice Review


Fionnuala Halligan Chief Film Critic, Screen International


Director: George Clooney. US. 2017. 105 mins.

Director: George Clooney. US. 2017. 105 mins.

This year in particular, the American dream of the 1950s - so modern and gleaming from the outside - is being recast as built on foundations of racism, abuse and greed, whether that’s the rotten core of fast food in The Founder, the ignored black mathematicians of the space race in Hidden Figures, or the suburban family dream of writers Joel and Ethan Coen’s darkly comic Suburbicon, brought to the screen by director/co-writer George Clooney and his partner Grant Heslov.

Suburbicon gives a masterclass in heightened production design

Suburbicon is a solid, pleasing piece, even if it never quite reaches the bleak heights its set-up promises. Not entirely in command of the film’s overall tone, and awkwardly grafting a race-riot plot onto a dark family drama with Matt Damon and a miscast Julianne Moore, Clooney returns to the timeframe of his greatest success as a director, Good Night And Good Luck. Production values are pin-point perfect and Suburbicon will be helped by its cast, its parallels to the situation America finds itself in again today thanks to Charlottesville, and Clooney’s household name. Hearts may not beat quite as fast as for his earlier work, however.

An inspired, semi-animated prologue introduces the viewer to Suburbicon, a purpose-built slice of American heaven build in 1947 and now - 1959 - home to 60,000 souls, all of them white. When a black family moves into the suburb, there’s no beating about the bush: angry residents want them out, and now. Next door, sisters Margaret and Rose (both played by Moore, with Rose Lodge in a wheelchair) watch the family move in, and Margaret sends her 11 year-old nephew Nicky (Noah Jupe) to play baseball with their young son.

Two narratives now play out, and it’s no surprise to read in the film’s production notes that they were written separately. The original Coen brothers script centred on the Lodge family, headed up by embattled patriarch Gardner (Damon), while Clooney and Heslov add an adapted-from-real-life strand, based around what actually happened when a black family moved into Levittstown, Pensylvania in 1957. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'Suburbicon': Venice Review
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.