Life is hell in middle America but especially in Suburbicon and especially for Nicky (Noah Jupe). Under the thin veneer of civility lies a very dark heart, one that envelopes and consumes the young boy’s life. Disfunction, amorality and racial prejudice surround him.
Mr. Smooth, George Clooney directs alone but shares writing credit with the brothers Coen and Grant Heslov (Good Night, and Good Luck and The Monuments Men). The film lives in the same world that has occupied Joel and Ethan for many years now and it looks into the evil that regular people are capable of when they suspend all morality or give into the pack mentality.
As a time capsule of mid-century life in American it gets the nuances just right and you can easily get lost in the mid-day high ball and pleated skirts, that is until the body count starts adding up. It’s not just the wall paper that is a horror show.
There is always a fine line between social commentary and entertainment when movies make bold statements and Suburbicon has more than a few moments where the outrage is equal to the entertainment. It’s up to the audience to make the distinction.