Sorry to Bother You (2018) Movie Review

By: Oberst von Berauscht (A Toast) –

Cash Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is down on his luck and desperate for work when he walks into the offices of Telemarketing call center “RegalView”.  Despite his obvious desperation and an ill-advisedly fraudulent resume, he is quickly hired on to make cold calls. After a rough start, he finds that he quite literally has a voice for sales when a coworker tells him to change the way he speaks to sound “white”. He soon finds himself promoted to “Power Caller”, a move which is as rewarding as it is isolating. What first seem like minor moral compromises grow larger in scope and scale. And as his friends he left behind organize to protest for worker rights, he soon finds his career interests directly in their way………….
And then things get weird.

The kind of weird which highly recommends you stay the hell off of Wikipedia and just buy the goddamned ticket already

A Toast

First-time director Boots Riley has crafted one of the most self-assured and original debut films in years. . He wears some diverse influences on his sleeve, such as the works of Mike Judge, Wes Anderson, Spike Lee, Terry Gilliam, and Robert Townsend. That isn’t to say that any of these films are directly referenced; Riley wisely takes inspiration from these forebears without directly referencing them, cherry picking interesting visual, thematic, and storytelling elements that combine into something fresh and new.

Being a workplace satire isn’t enough, Writer-Director Riley also sets out to comment on many of America’s current socio-political issues. It is a miracle, particularly for a first time feature filmmaker, that he bit off exactly the amount that he was able to chew. There are numerous excellent first time directors who attempt this kind of ambition and their vision exceeds their grasp. There’s a calculated and measured method to the sardonic madness at hand in this film. If this first film is any indication, Boots Riley may well become the film industry’s most organized purveyor of cinematic chaos.

I’ll drink to that!

Lakeith Stanfield has had quite a diverse career since his feature debut in Short Term 12, but this starring role is his true coming-out party. Taking a measured approach, he plays his character straight, no matter how ludicrous the circumstances. This grounds the film in reality, making the satirical elements that much funnier, and helps to deal their comedic targets a death blow. Comedian David Cross dubs Stanfield whenever he speaks with his “white voice”, a decision which comments perfectly on the soul-splitting compromises that Cash is making every day he continues his rise up the corporate ladder. Rounding out the excellent cast; Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, and Danny Glover all make a strong impression. It is wonderful to see a film in which such a large cast all get their due.

Funny how things work out.

Verdict

The most unique new film of 2018, Sorry to Bother You is a brutally vicious satire which throws contemporary American culture, politics, and social awareness into sharp relief. It is guaranteed to turn off just as many people as it enlightens, but a new and powerful cinematic voice has emerged…

Sorry to Bother You (2018) Movie Review

Why the Long Face?: take a drink for Horses.

Take a Drink:  every time someone says “WorryFree”.

Take a Drink: whenever the titular line is spoken.

Take a Drink: whenever Detroit wears a new quotation on her earrings.

Do a Shot: whenever someone gets the S#*@ kicked out of them!

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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