Suburbicon is a picture-perfect 1950s suburb where the best and worst of humanity is reflected through the deeds of ordinary people. But when a home break-in turns deadly, a family must turn to blackmail, revenge, and betrayal in order to survive.
Suburbicon is directed by Academy Award winner George Clooney (‘Good Night and Good Luck’) and written by Academy Award winners Joel & Ethan Coen (‘No Country For Old Men’), and Clooney and Academy Award winner Grant Heslov (‘Argo’).
In the decade following the Second World War, America’s emerging middle class was moving to the suburbs: idyllic, affordable homes in planned communities. For many, the American Dream of owning a home was becoming a reality for the first time.
“The GI Bill helped everybody coming back from the war to buy a nice house with a garage and a yard. You could get a good job, live in a nice neighbourhood and start a family, as long as you were white,” says Clooney. “What’s fun is peeling back that veneer of the perfect home life, and seeing how ugly things can get.”
“George and I were writing a script based on the events that unfolded in Levittown, Pennsylvania,” says Heslov. “In our research, George came across a documentary film from 1957 called ‘Crisis in Levittown’. It’s the true story of what happened when William and Daisy Meyers became the first African American family to move in to Levittown.”
“The day the Meyers moved in, the mailman assumed Mrs. Meyers was the maid and asked her if Mrs. Meyers was home,” Clooney recounts. “When she explained that she was Mrs. Meyers, the mailman took it upon himself to go door to door, calling himself ‘The Paul Revere of Levittown,’ asking everyone ‘Have you met your new neighbours?’ By that evening, there were about 500 people on their lawn shouting racial epitaphs, hanging Confederate flags, and burning a cross on the lawn next door.”
Around the time they were working on their Levittown idea, Clooney recalled a script the Coen Brothers had sent to him sometime back in 1999 called ‘Suburbicon’. “It was a comedy/thriller with similar themes to ‘Fargo’ and ‘Burn After Reading’: hapless characters making really bad decisions. We thought we’d like to make something a little less funny and a lot angrier. It seems like a good time for a film that feels angry.” “At that point George had the idea to take the existing ‘Suburbicon’ script and setting it in Levittown during the week the Meyer’s moved in,” says Heslov.
“There’s something in the national consciousness that wants to look at this era with rose colored glasses,” says Matt Damon, who plays embattled suburban father Gardner Lodge. “We want to believe everyone was somehow happier, but obviously people are people, and there was still a lot of dark stuff going on.”
On the surface, Gardner Lodge is a model husband and father, but he finds himself out of his depth when he has a brush with Suburbicon’s criminal element.
“You start the film with a certain set of assumptions about my character,” says Damon. “But as those assumptions begin to unwind as we watch him attempt take control of a situation, and continually fail.”
CAST: MATT DAMON, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac
DIRECTOR: GEORGE CLOONEY
OPENS: November 10