The trailer for Suburbicon, the new film written by George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and the Coen brothers, and directed by Clooney, is a bit tonally disjointed. For roughly the first 40 seconds, it comes across like yet another broad satire of white people in the suburbs, a darkly comic and snide putdown of Pleasantville-esque tropes. But then the gangsters start to come out of the woodwork, some backstory involving Matt Damon’s buttoned-up businessmen and mob money is suggested, and it all starts to look a lot more like, well, a Coen brothers movie.
Set in 1959 in a tranquil suburban community, the film follows Damon’s husband and father Gardner Lodge as he plunges into a dark underworld of crime and violence. His wife gets murdered in the opening seconds of the trailer, which lets you know right away that this isn’t going to be some genteel comedy of errors. By the time Oscar Isaac shows up as yet another menacing criminal demanding money from the Lodge family, Damon’s character is eating white-bread sandwiches with his son while wearing a starched shirt caked in blood. With the right tone, this could fall somewhere in the Burn After Reading realm of clueless people in over their heads. However, Clooney’s last few outings as a director (The Monuments Men, The Ides of March) have struggled to match the sharp tone and pacing of his earlier work, meaning there’s a real possibility this could fall more into The Ladykillers territory, only without the Coens’ steady directorial hand behind the lens.We’ll know for certain when Suburbicon hits theaters October 27.