Sorry To Bother You by writer/director Boots Riley is a trippy experience, and it’s one of the most original movies to come out in a long time.
Telemarketer Cassius Green (cash-is-green…get it?) quickly works his way up the corporate ladder. But is his newfound financial success worth the toll on his soul?
Riley’s film is a surreal look at our world, and it hits close to home. The racial and financial struggles facing Cassius and his friends are seen every day in our world. Yes, things are exaggerated for the film, but real terror hits you when you realize it’s not that far off from reality. It’s smart satire in the best way, full of metaphors and symbolism and clever writing. If you like to analyze film, you’ll have a ball with Sorry To Bother You.
Financial strife is at the core of this movie more than anything else. Cassius feels like he needs money to be interesting and give his life value. It’s nonsense, but – just like in the real world – this is the message that society puts out there. Riley shows the stark gap between the rich and the poor, and how the incompassionate uber-rich manipulate the system to keep themselves on top. He shows the ridiculousness of big business, the buzzwords and nonsensical stats (“35% of men who wear pink are more likely to start a franchise”). It’s frustrating to watch, mostly because you know it’s not fiction.
But as good as Riley’s script is, his direction is actually the most notable aspect of the flick. Sorry To Bother You is a visually original movie if I’ve ever seen one. The way Riley plays with the medium to do scene transitions, or show time passing, or just immerse you in Cassius’ sales calls is so fresh and fun to watch. This is the rapper’s directorial debut, and if this is the kind of fire he’s bringing, he’s got some awards in his future.
Of course, a movie’s only as good as its cast. Luckily, put together a stellar crew led by Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson. Armie Hammer comes close to stealing the show though as the sleazy big businessman who loves to chew the scenery.
Film fans, go see Sorry To Bother You. Everyone loves to complain about blockbusters and sequels and reboots, but this is proof that fresh and original movies are still being made, and being made well.