Matt Damon works up an appetite in Suburbicon. (Elevation Pictures image)

Reel Reviews: Murderous movies

We say, “Suburbicon is less finessed than Fargo. Jigsaw is as sick as the last round of games”

Taylor and Howe have seen two very different films this week, although they’re both films about murder.

Taylor viewed Suburbicon, which is a fictional tale of an odd crime set in ’50s American suburbia. The film stars Matt Damon, Jullianne Moore and Oscar Isaac, was written by the Coen brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski) and directed by first-time director George Clooney.

Howe went to the latest instalment of the Saw movies: After criminal Edger Munsen gets wounded by police in a shootout, he tells them that the Jigsaw has returned from the grave for one last round of games. Soon the bodies start to rack up and the police have a race against time to figure out who is behind this copycat killer.

We say, “Suburbicon is less funny and finessed than Fargo. Jigsaw is as sick as the last round of games.”

TAYLOR: The press is down on Suburbicon, perhaps audiences too. There weren’t very many patrons to see this film, a film I was looking forward to. Maybe everyone is down on the film because it feels like Coen brothers light. It has all the right slices, a bit of America, a bit of absurdity, a crime, odd characters, extreme behaviour and dark comedy. I love the Coens and their films, but I understand they’re a bit of an acquired taste. Fargo is perhaps the most accessible and most perfect of their films, every other Coens’ film asks something of the audience. Suburbicon asks us to forgive director Clooney’s heavy handedness. The social messages in the film felt a bit tacked on, not really explaining much but only added to give the film some weight. It feels like something Clooney would do and he did. However, this is the opinion of a picky Coens fan and if you went into Suburbicon with an open mind, I think you would be treated to an interesting little film that is more entertaining than it is memorable or fun.

HOWE: I gave up on the Saw franchise after the third instalment, reason being they just became too sick, too twisted and had really no story line except how to kill people in the most disgusting ways possible. This latest instalment, part eight, returns to the good old original idea, again. Jigsaw has some twisted moments, some nice new appliances and a semi decent plot as to who is behind these games. The acting is okay for a gross, gory film — no big stars but what do you expect? We do get to see one old, familiar face. There is blood, yes lots of blood and some very ingenious contraptions to test the subjects and spill that blood. Yet all the killer really wants from his victims is to confess to their sins. If they can do that, they will be set free. I will confess this was actually better than I thought it would be.

TAYLOR: The marketing for Jigsaw is abuzz with the fact that these Saw films contain practical special effects, meaning they build these awful things and figure out how to make everything you’re seeing happen in the real world, rather than a computer. This, I suppose is worth something, if only kudos, but shouldn’t be your only reason to see this movie.

Taylor gives Suburbicon 3 ad hominem attacks out of 5.

Howe gives Jigsaw 3 bucketheads out of 5.

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