Jake Dekker

Created by Stanley Ellin

"It starts out like a Disney film, and by the end it feels like an acid trip."

-- George Clooney, in Entertainment Weekly

In the 2017 blackly-comic, blood-splattered thriller Suburicon (2017, Paramount), Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Noah Jupe are a squeaky clean (emphasis on "squeaky") fifties-era suburban family who are the victims of an alleged home invasion, but fast-talking insurance investigator ROGER (Oscar Isaacs) is suspicious.

And his suspicions are well founded -- the idyllic suburban setting hides a violent underbelly of lies, deceit, racism, and surprising violence.

Blood simple? You might say that...

It's not really a private eye flick, but from the pre-release buzz, Oscar Isaacs' performance as the insurance investigator who smells something rotten is the best thing about the film, which early critics damned for being schizophrenic and unfocussed.

The film started out as a Coen Brothers screenplay, written back in 1986 or so, and at one point offered, around the time of O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000), to George Clooney who was being considered for the lead. The film was never made, however, and several years later, Clooney resurrected the project, adding a secondary plot and taking over the director's chores.

Joel and Ethan Coen are, of course, no strangers to crime films. Their other films include True Grit, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, Hail, Caesar!, Fargo. The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, and the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men. And there's Ethan's collection of short stories, Gates of Eden (1998) which betrays a deep fondness for pulp and B-movie tropes of the crime kind.

FILM

  • SUBURBICON...Buy this video
    (2017, Paramount)
    94 minutes
    Debut: October 27, 2017
    Original screenplay by Joel Cohen and Ethan Coen
    Revised by George Clooney and Grant Heslov
    Directed by George Clooney
    Starring Oscar Isaacs as ROGER
    with Matt Damon as Gardner Lodge
    and Julianne Moore as Margaret Lodge
    Also starring Noah Jupe, Glenn Fleshler, Alex Hassell, Megan Ferguson, Jack Conley, Gary Basaraba, Michael D. Cohen, Leith M. Burke, Karimah Westbrook, Tony Espinosa

RELATED LINKS

The Thrilling Detective review by Christopher Friesen.

Short profiles of private eyes featured in Coen's Gates of Eden.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Jim Doherty for the lead on Sunburn.


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