Review: Suburbicon (15)

A bungled home invasion in a pristine, picket-fenced 1950s US community provides the catalyst for George Clooney’s darkly comic crime caper.

Based on a script by Oscar-winning siblings Joel and Ethan Coen, which has been gathering dust on a shelf for more than 30 years and arguably should have stayed there, Suburbicon addresses timely issues of racial politics and family disunity without drawing blood or compelling conclusions.

The two narrative strands of Clooney’s film – bigotry and deceit – are awkwardly woven together into a tableau that can’t decide whether it wants to satirise society or pass swingeing commentary on the thinly veiled ugliness behind the American dream. As a thriller, the film telegraphs its cold-blooded intentions so far in advance, the only mystery is how the police are blind to the skulduggery.

Behind the camera, Clooney fails to energise key sequences but he does elicit wry laughter with quirky details like Matt Damon’s bloodied and bruised husband furiously peddling away from a flame-scorched crime scene on a child’s bicycle.

Suburbicon is a predictable tale of crime and punishment, which oozes period style but lacks suspense and a satisfying pay-off.