CLOONEY TWISTS COEN'S SUBURBICON
Film Review by FIORE
After a while, one must ask how many things George Clooney can screw up before there is a reckoning? He destroyed the Batman franchise for Warner Brothers; he destroyed the sci-fi tale TOMORROWLAND by inserting a plethora of Al Gore inspired global ideologies; and now he destroys one of Hollywood’s premiere screenwriters’ oeuvre in SUBURBICON.
Joel and Ethan Coen penned SUBURBICON a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. The brothers experienced difficulty pitching the script to a studio, so it sat and collected dust for a number of years.
Enter George Clooney. He acquired the script from the Coens and used his incredible Hollywood influence on Paramount to make the film “because of the scapegoating of Mexicans and Muslims in the 2016 election.”
Ah, George’s agenda is showing. The story takes place in the 1950’s, yet he reveals in this simple, inane statement, his purpose is to provide snide comments on America’s shift in the last presidential election to a more conservative platform. Already, a problem presents itself because the mores of the ‘50’s do not coincide with those of today. Clooney attempted to make the correlation by stating he altered the script to depict the sense that we, as a country, are always “looking in the wrong direction and blaming the wrong people for our woes, which seems to be an American tradition.”
The Coens write intriguing scripts. Their script for HAIL CAESAR was funny. They went with Clooney and the movie flopped. Why they let him have this one is puzzling. While some of their films may be less than stellar, their stories are generally enthralling, with an element of the bizarre. It is easy to see their script for SUBURBICON plays like a tale from FARGO, complete with quirky characters and extreme coincidental plot points. It is also easy to see the elements infused by Clooney and his desire to debase any principals of white, straight men. The contrast is so stark, it makes SUBURBICON unwatchable, and nearly laughable.
Matt Damon is Gardner. He is vice-president of a successful business, and married to Rose, played by Julianne Moore. Rose has a twin sister, Margaret, also played by Moore. Gardner loves her, too. From this macabre ménage- a- trois comes a hair-brained scheme to defraud the insurance company. All goes swimmingly, until insurance agent Bud Cooper, played by Oscar Isaac, catches on to the ruse and seeks to cut himself in on the play. Caught in the middle is Gardner’s son Nicky, played by Noah Jupe.
Maestro Alexandre Desplat provides the score. Robert Elswit serves as Cinematographer and Stephen Mirrione as Editor. All perform yeoman duties on the film.
While the story could easily have been made into a FARGO, or even a Hitchcock version, instead viewers are treated to victimization by an oppressive white society, the Confederate flag brandished as a symbol for racism, corrupt police departments, and a searing hatred for middle class suburbia. None of it plays well, and the fault lies at the feet of Clooney who erroneously thought he could enhance a script by the Coens with his progressive, liberal viewpoints.
Skip this one, and wait patiently for the fourth season of FARGO, due out next year, provided the Coens don’t ask Clooney to be involved.