Sorry to Bother You is unlike anything I’ve really seen before. That’s a statement that can be overused or undersold, but Sorry to Bother You is legitimately one of the most original and resonant voices in film I’ve seen in western cinema lately.
Boots Riley’s directorial debut off his own original screenplay, while this film deserves it in its own way, I’m sure it won’t be recognised for any screenplay honours for just how out there Sorry to Bother You actually is.
Inventive and off-kilter, Sorry to Bother You feels so much like if Charlie Kaufman made a
movie except if it was full-on extroverted over introverted, and fuelled entirely by cocaine. It’s a film that plays with structure and realism and art and quirky concepts and ideas that make for great visuals.
It’s effortlessly brought to life through its cast. Whether that’s the leads like the brilliantly cast Lakeith Stanfield, or his “white voice” in David Cross, or even side characters like the fantastic Armie Hammer, who has one of the greatest character introductions ever.
Sorry to Bother You is a feast of brilliant satire, though not aimed towards the current American administration (though you could definitely argue that it’s unintentionally great as one). It speaks to how big business use the workhorses of industry for their greater good, how strings are pulled in the world to further exploit their way down the chain.
Riley’s film is effortlessly entertaining, intelligent, batshit crazy, wonderfully vibrant, drastically original, artistic, abstract, and just entirely pleasing across the board I.
That’s not to say the film is perfect, it’s not. It plods around a little and feels longer than what it should be, but I can’t lie and say I wasn’t entertained the entire time. As the runtime ticks away it does progress further and further into the darkness and into the twister mirror pointed at the current world. It is fiercely anti-capitalist, it is full on with its motivations as a movie, it is a hell of a ride.
Sorry to Bother You is a mission statement and it is a brilliant first step into Riley’s cinematic career. I hope for more from this guy and I want him to go even further, if that’s possible. This is a phenomenal first film for a director, and this is the sort of vision we need to see in cinema.
Absurd, abstract, and astounding, I wish it were a tiny bit more refined, but still...