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A Trailer’s Deceit

“Suburbicon” tanks in its premiere

 By Cheryl Bauder Staff Writer

George Clooney released his tragic satire “Suburbicon” on Oct. 27, and reviewers were less than thrilled with a 26 percent from Rotten Tomatoes and a 4.7/10 poll from IMBD users. Many things went awry in the film, from plot holes to minimal or nonexistent character development, but the greatest complaint about the movie was its misleading and disjointed trailer. Major themes in the story were completely left out of the trailer, which made viewers feel tricked into seeing a movie with false promises.

I suspect most of the outrage stems from a general hatred of being duped. While Clooney and the cast shouldn’t expect any Oscar nominations, the narrative was still an interesting one that does deserve at least 50 percent from Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences couldn’t get past the deceit.

A Black American woman is seen holding up her laundry, as a group of white men holler at her over a wooden fence.
Photo courtesy of Hilary Bronwyn & Paramount Pictures

The trailer presented the movie as a murder mystery in which Gardner (Matt Damon) struggles to find the mobsters who killed his wife, which eventually puts his son Nicky (Noah Jupe) in harm’s way. It looked that simple, with the possibility of some slasher elements thrown in for a good scare. Instead, any conscious viewer figured out the murder plot within the first thirty minutes, and there wasn’t a thrill in sight. It was more of a community satire ending in tragedy.

The trailer also failed to give audiences an idea of the movie’s racial commentary. Even before the murder, tensions in the community spiral out of control when a Black family, the Mayers, moves into Suburbicon. The town held meetings and then built a giant fence around the Mayers’ property. It’s not the mob that whips the community into a frenzy; it’s the Mayers.

Considering the current political climate, racism is an unpopular conversation, which is why the trailer intentionally left it out. It was meant to draw people to the movie, and it did, but at what cost? The racial satire introduced a great discussion about racism and hypocrisy, but audiences heard none of that. Instead they watched the almost two-hour movie in silent contempt. One IMBD user even said she wouldn’t have gone to the movie had she known race was a major theme. The trailer was well-intentioned, but it was the ruin of an otherwise good film.