The Coen Brothers — Joel and Ethan — are gifted filmmakers, auteurs in the best sense. Their direction is usually spot-on and their scripts are clever and well-written … Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men (and more, take your pick, it is a long list).
With Suburbicon, which is heading home courtesy of Paramount Home Media as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack offerings on Feb. 13, you got a clever — weirdly clever — script (which had been written and revised over a period of 20 years), but they didn’t direct, as their compatriot, George Clooney, handled that duty.
First, the business side of the equation … the ARR works out to 102 days and ticket sales for the film’s late October theatrical run (just a little over 2,000 screens) came in light at just $5.8 million.
With Matt Damon and Julianne Moore in starring roles, plus the Coen Brothers as the scriptwriters, the home entertainment launch by Paramount Home Media should generate a good deal of interest … especially among those who couldn’t fit in a trip to the local multiplex during the limited two-week theatrical run that Suburbicon had nationally during the last week of October and the first week of November.
There’s more than one way to look at Suburbicon: It’s either a very black comedy, wrapped in a delicious murder mystery, or a social commentary. When you consider that the original script’s timeline came right after the Coen Brothers delivered Blood Simple, the focus by Clooney could have been solely on those elements (think: Blood Simple married with Gary Ross’ 1998 film release of Pleasantville). The entire black segregation/block-busting side story might have been better left on the cutting room floor (or made as a separate film altogether).
As to bonus goodies, Clooney provides commentary and he is joined by actor/writer-turned-producer Grant Heslov — Heslov and Clooney teamed for the Best Picture nominee, Good Luck, and Good Night in 2005 … Clooney and Heslov, along with Ben Affleck, captured the Oscar for Best Picture for their film production of Argo in 2013, and the Heslov/Clooney combination have been involved in eight films together, including Money Monster, The Monuments Men and The Ides of March.
Also included as bonus features are three production featurettes — “Welcome to Suburbicon,” “The Unusual Suspects: Casting” and “Scoring Suburbicon.”