Suburbicon is a dark, dark, dark depiction of how things aren’t always as they appear and how terrible people can be to each other. In an apparently picture-perfect suburb in 1950s America, Gardner (Matt Damon) seems to be just like everybody else. A white guy with an average job, a wife and son, Gardner soon has murder, lies and cover-ups happening behind the polite curtains of his cookie-cutter life.
RATED: Subrubicon is rated MA15+ for strong themes and violence
AUDIENCE: Fans of director George Clooney, co-writers The Coen Brothers and stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac.
WHAT’S GOOD: Given all the talented and popular film-makers involved with Subrubicon, it is a quite disappointing to discover how chaotic and jumbled it is. Aside from Oscar Issac’s invigorating cameo, pitch-black “comedy” Subrubicon only offers one powerful idea worth chewing on. Gardner’s despicable actions are set against his African-American neighbours – who are being harassed, merely because they are different. Beyond this illustration of the intolerance of tolerance, Subrubicon is a tough place to visit.
WHAT’S NOT: Subrubicon spends most of its time putting off viewers with its unlikable characters, plot and situations. There is barely anyone to cheer for, feel for or be engaged by. The predictable story of an apparently “perfect” suburban American town revealing its true colours oversteps the line from black comedy to offensive icky-ness. Among its confusing and disturbing elements, the main reason viewers should struggle with Subrubicon is its decision to place Gardner’s son in the firing line of murderous deeds.
SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: This portrait of tolerant people being intolerant might remind you of the hypocritical climate we can find ourselves in today. As no one in his neighbourhood notices murder and mayhem have descended upon the home of everyday schlub Gardner, his African-American neighbours are increasingly tormented by enraged crowds of white folks – simply because their existence has been racially diversified. The best thing about Subrubicon is the contrast between what is going on under the surface of Gardner’s home, and how another family’s superficial difference causes prejudice and bigotry to instantly tear down the polite veneer of a community where, allegedly, all can prosper. That satiric swipe at tolerance shouldn’t be lost on any of us. We might not pretend to live in an urban utopia but you and I like to think we DON’T judge others simply because they are different. However, we only need to quickly scan Facebook or survey some recent social debates, to see that our so-called tolerance quickly leaps to intolerance of conflicting views. Being able to agree to disagree, or respect others who are much different to us, is in a shameful state in our society, even though we claim to be advanced and open-minded.
RELEASE DATE: Subrubicon is now showing in cinemas