In the idyllic planned community of Suburbicon, everything appears to be in its right place. Apple-cheeked kids race home from school every afternoon, white picket fences outline immaculately manicured lawns, and a cheery mailman greets you in the same way at the same time every day. But there‘s trouble brewing in this homogeneous paradise. Is that a drop of blood?

Matt Damon takes the lead role in this 1950s period piece, portraying beleaguered father Gardner Lodge. He’s having the sort of self-inflicted bad week that characters written by the Coen brothers (they cooked up the script for the film’s director, longtime pal George Clooney) tend to have. First, masked intruders break into his house and murder his wife. Then, his sister (Julianne Moore) comes to town and starts crushing up pills for what we can only assume are unsavory purposes. To add insult to wife-murder, it turns out that this is all Gardner’s fault in the first place, having gotten in with some bad hombres from the local organized crime scene. They send a menacing emissary (Oscar Isaac), and the bodies begin piling up with mild-mannered Gardner caught in the middle.

It’s all right there in the personnel, really — we’ve got a new script from a pair of brilliant writers, enacted by a trio of masterful performers in the peak of their careers, and directed by someone who’s proven that he’s got the capacity for greatness in him, even if he doesn‘t always realize it. (Remember Leatherheads? Or The Monuments Men?) The first reviews for Suburbicon are only a month and a half away, with big premieres on the docket for the film festivals in Venice and Toronto. At the risk of editorializing — this one looks real good.

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