We’ve been taught to "stick to the script" our whole lives. We believe that if we start at the bottom, and work our way to the top, we will be who we really want to become. This ideology fuels every Americans dreams of going from janitor to CEO, when in all actuality the system that we are trying to conquer is against us. This is the extremely potent message weaved through Boots Riley’s directorial debut, Sorry to Bother You (2018).
The film follows Cassius Green (Keith Stanfield), a broke, downtrodden individual who begins working at a telemarketing agency, with promises that if he "sticks to the script" he will become a Power Caller, one of the prestigious individuals associated with the highest tier of the company he is working for. But, as he begins climbing the ranks, Cassius and his fiancée Detroit (Tessa Thompson) begin to realize that while the pay increases, so does the shadiness and general lack of self-morals within the company.
This is genuinely a film that I don’t think anyone can say they have seen before. The filmmakers seemingly have created a world that seems ridiculously outlandish at first, but as we begin to progress we realize just how potent this political imagery really is. Sorry to Bother You (2018) paints the picture of the modern day minority, and how capitalism creates unimaginable struggles for them and their families. Similar to films like Do the Right Thing (1989), I genuinely believe this will be classic film that future generations will come to love and admire.
Aside from its deeply important message, the film also succeeds on almost every level possible. From terrific acting, to extremely tactful dark humor, this film is going to do to cinema what Childish Gambino’s "This is America" did to music.
But while it hits the mark a good few times throughout the first two acts, during the third act it begins to get jumbled. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love what they decided to do with the ending, and how they further explored the inner workings of Cassius, but the scenes began to feel hectic as it approached the ending. It feels like they just throw this random, crucial development at you, but don’t even give you time to process it before they immediately end the story.
Overall, Sorry to Bother You (2018) may not be a perfect film, but it is one that we should support because of its message of being more aware of people in powerful positions, but most importantly because it emphasizes that we shouldn’t lose our faith during troubling times.
Final Score: 8 out of 10.
Sorry to Bother You • Run time 1:45 • Rated R - for pervasive language, some strong sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use