Suburbicon

The title refers to a picture-perfect (read: lily-white) American suburb in 1959, where two stories transpire in adjacent houses: in one, a black family who have just moved in meet with a torrent of abuse from their white neighbors, while next door, a bespectacled, white-collar dad (Matt Damon) tries to cope with the prying questions of his young son after a home invasion that left the boy’s mother (Julianne Moore) dead. George Clooney and Grant Heslov (Good Night, and Good Luck) reworked an old script by Joel and Ethan Coen, and one can see why the brothers might have unloaded it: the black characters are barely characters at all, and the murder mystery is a Hollywood hand-me-down along the lines of The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001). Clooney directed; with Oscar Isaac as a toothsome insurance investigator and, as in the Coens’ movies, an array of choice character actors.