REVIEW: Sorry To Bother You - Wildly Original & Knowingly Weird
In a world populated by franchise movies and sequels, unique indies are usually the most fascinating. From its first trailer, Sorry To Bother You looked like something different. At one moment, it’s the life of a telemarketer and at another, there are mobs being fought off by police in riot gear. However, absolutely nothing from any trailer, review, or description will prepare you for Sorry To Bother You.
Set in an alternate current version of Oakland, Cassius Green considers himself a failure. He doesn’t have a job, but more importantly, he doesn’t have a purpose. This all changes when Cassius becomes a telemarketer at Regal View. After using a helpful technique, his “white voice”, Cassius rises to the top and finally gains success and purpose. But is Cassius’ success worth everything he risked for it?
Sorry To Bother You’s plot, a very simple and familiar story, is transcended into a stylish masterpiece because of first-time director/writer Boots Riley’s vision. It’s not that the film is all style, no substance. It’s all style and all substance. Riley uses inventive camera moves, smart dialogue, colorful costumes, and the playground of an alternate reality to make something superbly original and knowingly weird. Most filmmakers wouldn’t utilize every element the way Riley does, it’s profound.
While Riley could stop there and already give you a great movie that excels in its premise, Riley gives Sorry To Bother You another layer of brilliance. The film operates not only as a tale of success, but also as a social commentary criticizing capitalism, workers rights, and slavery. The original story seamlessly blends with its social commentary.
Even with such dark themes, Sorry To Bother You manages to remain hilarious with its use of social satire. The film is filled to the brim with clever humor. My theater erupted with laughter with all of the funny jokes and scenarios Riley crafted.
Every character in Sorry To Bother You seems real. With bizarre names like Squeeze or Mr. _____ (yes, those are characters), you’d think they’d be odd characters with no depth, but while they are odd, they are all well-developed. The all-star cast gives it their all, with standout performances from Lakeith Stanfield (Cassius Green), Tessa Thompson (Detroit), and Jermaine Fowler (Salvador).
Sorry To Bother You is the most original film of the year so far. It’s thought-provoking, surreal, and weird, but for all the right reasons. Not everyone will like it, but I encourage everyone to check it out nonetheless.
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