George Clooney’s ‘Suburbicon’: 1950s Idyll Crimes & Echoes Of Today’s America Hit Venice

Paramount Pictures

George Clooney’s Suburbicon will have its official world premiere in competition here at the Venice Film Festival tonight. Unveiled to the press this morning, it’s being called “Hitchcockian,” “caustic,” “timely” and “political.” The latter qualifiers point to the part of the plot that deals with racial tensions in 1950s America — and which quickly calls to mind the recent events in Charlottesville, Va. Major reviews are still to come on the 1950s-set crime comedy/drama. Applause inside the Sala Darsena was hearty earlier today, and the general consensus from folks canvassed outside was positive. It’s trending on Twitter.

Clooney is helming from a script by the Coen brothers, himself and Grant Heslov. Matt Damon, in his second Lido outing this year after Downsizing, stars as Gardner Lodge, a husband and father caught up in the sinister aftermath of a home invasion. Julianne Moore plays the dual roles of Lodge’s wife and sister-in-law while Oscar Isaac pops up as an insurance investigator. Noah Jupe (The Night Manager) is Lodge’s son whose wide eyes see everything that’s going on in the titular town.

The official synopsis of the film that was released with the trailer in late July reads in part, “This is a tale of very flawed people making very bad choices.” That’s spot-on, but in a way sidesteps a key aspect of the film which is the racial drama playing out across from the Lodge’s yard.

There, a black family that’s just moved to the titular and supposed idyll of Suburbicon is being violently attacked by an angry mob — echoing the events in 1950s Levittown, Pa and, disturbingly, the much more recent happenings in Charlottesville (although the film was shot a year ago).

At the Lodges’ meanwhile, there are violent attacks of a different sort. But the locals are too focused on their racism-fueled rage to notice, even when the bloodshed spills into the street.

Clooney will speak with the press a bit later today when we’ll have more about the Black Bear Pictures-backed production that’s produced by Clooney, Heslov and Teddy Schwarzman.

It’s been a hot property since it came on the market, selling to Paramount for domestic and closing worldwide deals in Berlin 2016. When Suburbicon leaves the Lido it heads to Toronto, followed by an October 27 domestic release. Offshore markets are lined up after that.

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