Three years after a Monument Men unconvincing, George Clooney goes back behind the camera to scratch the magnified vision of America in the 50s. A convincing plea?
The friendship between George Clooney and the Coen brothers is old. And for good reason, the actor played in four of their feature films. It is therefore not surprising to see them at work on the scenario of Welcome to Suburbicon . Their pronounced taste for the absurd echoes again in this incredible story, which is also a parable of America's social unrest.
Suburbicon is a quiet and residential town, which has attracted many white families with its perfect shops and lawns. A certain idea of the American dream, shared by Gardner (Matt Damon), his wife, his twin sister-in-law (both played by Julianne Moore) and their young son. But as the first Afro-American family moved to the city, anxiety is spreading to many of the neighborhood's residents. Lacking money, Gardner develops an incredible plan to save appearances.
At first sight, it seems difficult to differentiate Clooney's feature film from a new Coen film. The form is similar, and pays homage to a period still lived as glorious by a part of America. Image slightly yellowed, pastel colors … The photography of Robert Elswit is inspired by the propagandist style of advertising to recreate a perfect postcard of the time. As is often the case with the duet, the staging precedes the talk and suggests that the polish of this perfect society will soon peel off.
Quite quickly, Clooney sets out to tell two distinct stories, supposedly reasoning as an allegory of the ethnic tensions still tearing the country apart. The main one is the character of Damon, a man much more crooked than he looks. In conflict with pawnbrokers with expeditious methods, the latter embarks on a perilous insurance scam. The opportunity to scratch the image of the honest white middle class of the northern states, historically confronted with rednecks forcing racist southern.
This "pavillonnaire" rereading of Fargo combines cowardice and stupidity, and clearly bears the Coen trademark. If all is a little too predictable, this simple plan quickly turns into a game of massacre pleasant enough to follow. Matt Damon convinces commuter exceeded by the events, while Julianne Moore accompanies the tragi-comic of the situation with a certain elegance. Special mention to Oscar Isaac, a malicious insurance investigator who gives us one of the best scenes of the film.
The second focuses on the eventful move of an African American family, which sees part of the community protest violently and without reason against their arrival. Based on a real news incident in Levitton, Pennsylvania, this racist story, revolting as it is, serves only to assert.
Using a strong example, Clooney plays the fathers morality more than anything else. Behind his apparent desire to deconstruct the thoughtfulness of Yankee America, the director uses this fact to infuse a false depth to his film.
The presence of the couple on the screen is simply anecdotal. Relegated to the background, their story never interferes with the twists of the main plot. So much so that we end up forgetting them. A shame when you understand what their presence was supposed to denounce.
The serious treatment of the event denotes by the way with the rest of the film, which evolves in a delirious tone. This duplication of the story creates a false rhythm that slows even the basic plot. Laughing while tapping on the fingers was not easy. Clooney is only half successful
Welcome to Suburbicon attempts a balancing act more complicated than it seems. Adored by the Coen brothers, whose absurd style we will recognize (with pleasure), the film denounces the white America of the northern states, often spared by criticism of its past. Unfortunately, Clooney's lesson runs fast as he is not interested in the main people involved. Remains a squeaky comedy and rather well interpreted on people a little too clean to be honest.