Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sorry to Bother You

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! With a title that is an apology for inconveniencing people, I would imagine this film is about my own social anxieties.

Sorry to Bother You – 5 out of 5

From the moment I heard Boots Riley talk about Sorry to Bother You, I really wanted to see it.  The trailers I saw didn’t really do the best job at selling what a work of satire this feature was but hearing him talk about it sure sold me.  Since I am wealth-lacking, I waited till I could get this cheaply for the home market and, I gotta say, this movie is truly one-of-a-kind and a whole lot of amazing!

Tessa Thompson sure has an incredible ability to attach her amazing talents
to amazing products.

Down on his luck and living in his Uncle’s garage, Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield) takes a job as a telemarketer for a company called RegalView.  Initially he struggles but after an older coworker offers some advice he starts to makes some serious progress when he starts making phone calls with his “white voice” (done by David Cross).  As some of his coworkers start to protest in an attempt to form a union, Cash sets his sights on being promoted and becoming a Power Caller.  This drives a wedge between Cash and his friends and his artist girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) but also brings him a lot of success.  This also results in the CEO of WorryFree (Armie Hammer) becoming interested in working with Cash but, aside from WorryFree being an already terrible company that basically makes slaves out of its labor force, Cash learns a dark and horrifying secret that the CEO has up his sleeve.

Hammer really nailed the sleazy CEO.
See what I did there?  Nailed?
I'm sorry.

Live your life with the confidence of a person who
answers the phone while having sex.
Boots Riley really made something memorable and truly creative with Sorry to Bother You.  The film is one long satire of capitalism and class and how it impacts race.  The visuals and scenes are heightened to make a reality that feels aloof but never feels too far away from the ground.  For example, to illustrate Cash’s journey through cold calling, we see his desk figuratively fall through the floor of his office building and enter the homes of the people he talks to.  From a visual standpoint it is very funny but also amazingly creative.  This balance makes the satirical edge sharp but never dull so a casual viewer can’t understand it—like how an article from The Onion can end up looking too much like a real article and just so happens to be affirming reader bias and we end up with those people who think it is real news.  Essentially, Riley constructed a film that is highly entertaining and amusing but also visually stunning and incredibly thought-provoking.

Atlanta, Get Out, and now this?  I can't wait to see what other epic pieces
of work Stanfield attaches himself to.

The performances and the cast is absolutely top notch in this film.  Stanfield carries the movie amazingly and it was easy to invest in his character because he found that balance of being a guy trying to better himself but also getting caught up in the madness of our broken capitalistic society.  The supporting players like Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews and David Cross and Patton Oswalt being the “white voices” really helped bring this unique world from Riley to life and they were all just very addicting to watch.  Finally, Armie Hammer as the CEO of WorryFree had the perfect level of smug that befits a CEO with too much money and too many dark plans for the future.

Wait, is Cassius about to join the Corporate Avengers?

Terry Crews, the man we all should strive to be like.
Sorry to Bother You is a wicked piece of witty satire that has an engaging story filled with biting commentary, a terrific cast and some fantastic music (most of it Boots Riley's own).  The film is somehow able to find a unique balance where it can analyze and critic so many aspects of our society but never deliver this critique in a way that feels like it is being smug about it.  Furthermore, it delivers this message in a goofball way that never feels too silly or like it is not taking itself seriously enough.  It’s a very fine balance and one that Riley found and rode perfectly.  Sorry to Bother You is one of those movies that, after I watched it, I truly hoped it would be something that can move hearts, change minds and better the world.  Will it?  Only time will tell.

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