Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Sorry to Bother You
Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Cast: LaKeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Kate Berlant, Michael X. Sommers, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, Robert Longstreet, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Lily James, Forest Whitaker, Rosario Dawson, W. Kamau Bell
Seen on: 4.8.2019

Cassius (LaKeith Stanfield) lives with his girlfriend, the artist Detroit (Tessa Thompson), in his uncle Sergio’s (Terry Crews) garage. Money is tight and that doesn’t really change when Cassius starts a new job as a telemarketer. But success is just around the corner when Cassius discovers his white voice and uses it in his sales. At the same time though his co-worker Squeeze (Steve Yeun) is starting to raise concerns about the products they are selling.

Sorry to Bother You is a wild film, in the best sense: it takes you into entirely different directions and it has so much fun with exploring and experimenting, that it doesn’t matter in the slightest when things get a little messy. I was thoroughly charmed by pretty much everything about it.

The film poster showing LaKeith Stanfield with a bandaged head.

Sorry to Bother You takes on a lot. It tackles racial politics as well as capitalism and how they both tie into each other. It is a thorough criticism of both, but it’s also a comedy (and a very funny one to boot). It’s firmly rooted in the neoliberal hellscape that is today, but it’s also a Science Fiction story so out there that it seems like fantasy. It mashes all of these things together with the joyful disregard of a toddler playing with play dough and the result is a colorful and fun film.

But reducing it to that sense of joy would be selling the film short. It’s criticism, even when outrageously packaged, is serious and astute – starting with the “white voice” thing to everything around “WorryFree” or Detroit’s art projects. The film just isn’t content with making a straight point. Instead it’s gleefully weird through and through – and it’s wonderful.

Tessa Thompson and LaKeith Stanfield in the film.

Equally wonderful is the cast. It’s pretty amazing who turns up in the course of the film, but it’s, of course, Stanfield who carries most of it and he carries it very well. Thompson and Yeun are particularly supporting highlights, though, not surprsingly. And Detroit’s earrings that I would like to buy in bulk, please.

To round things off, the film has a very distinct look. It’s rather simple in some things, but it works and it looks really cool.

It’s a really engaging, entertaining film that takes the political value of comedy seriously. I loved it.

Jermaine Fowler, Steven Yeun and LaKeith Stanfield in the film.

Summarizing: I don’t understand why this film didn’t explode everywhere, it’s so good.

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