Suburbicon, due in UK cinemas in November and in the US at the end of Oct, has enough fizz around it to make it worth considering for one’s pre-Christmas entertainment schedule.
Especially once the invitations fail to materialise.
At this distance it has plenty going for it: described by the Guardian as a “picket fence creepfest”, and Variety as a “Sneaky 1950s cousin to Fargo”, it is made from a Coen Brothers script, has a great trailer and stars the fabulous Julianne Moore.
It also has a leading man required to wear glasses throughout, not least so that his face can be bashed in, and his specs snapped and humiliatingly taped back together.
And as soon as the script called for “dour, weaselly family guy, wears spectacles” that role was only ever going to one actor: Matt Damon.
Because he was born to act in glasses.
The Talented Mr Ripley, Green Zone, The Informant, The Good Shepherd, The Martian… few directors have been able to prevent Damon from spilling out of his favourite frames during a lengthy career.
At the same time, few other actors have been permitted to put the specs on.
There’s Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose use of eyewear was largely to emphasise his utter loser status, or Woody Allen who wears glasses because he only ever plays himself, but no one else in the leading man category has challenged Damon’s supremacy as the four-eyed film star.
Well, here’s a theory.
Nothing ends up in a film by accident, and the wearing of glasses by a leading man tends to signal either “I’m thinking now”, or “let me take this to an intellectual level that only I am capable of achieving.”
And while big budget films rarely need to send this message, as vehicles, firearms, military hardware and famous ladies are more frequently employed as plot-fuelling accessories, when an actor is required to “frame up” he has to look like he means it.
Vin Diesel, the Rock and all those superhero types would probably find wearing glasses a little borderline effeminate for the health of their careers.
Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, George Clooney and the good looking chaps wouldn’t dream of obscuring their handsomeness behind a window.
Channing Tatum’s specs would fly off and shatter as soon as he started dancing.
Similar for Tom Cruise and his action needs.
Likewise for Jackie Chan karate chopping his way out of trouble.
Mega-stars like Leonardo Di Caprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Will Smith and Tom Hanks only do sunglasses.
Which leaves… Matt Damon.
For a while it looked as though Mark Ruffalo might share the burden of pretending to be short-sighted, but then the action hero money called and he changed his mind.
So there you have it – next time you’re wondering why it takes $16 million or whatever to get Matt Damon to pretend to be someone else, just remember that wearing those specs is a skill like any other.