Title – Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Director – Boots Riley (feature debut)
Cast – Lakeith Stanfield, Tess Thompson, Steven Yeun, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Armie Hammer
Plot – Set in an alternate version of Oakland, desperate to be employed Cassius Green (Stanfield) gets a job at a telemarketing company and quickly begins to climb the corporate ranks, only to find out that making it to the top isn’t all its talked up to be.
“Don’t listen to what I say. Listen to what I want”
Review by Eddie on 12/12/2018
If you’re looking to track down one of (if not the most original) cinematic offerings of 2018, then there’s no need to look any further than debut director Boot’s Riley’s Sorry to Bother You.
A film that defies any specific type of pigeonholing, Bother is a mix of social commentary, biting satire, black comedy and oddball science fiction yarn set in an alternate version of the city of Oakland that follows Lakeith Stanfield’s meandering Cassius Green finding himself a new job and a new skill as a telemarketer but that’s only part of the story that ends up unfolding in Riley’s gonzo experience.
Saying too much more about Bother’s arc and little surprises would ruin much of the fun to be found in the film but suffice to say there will be places you didn’t expect to be visiting as we follow Green’s plight from lifeless office worker to top of the food chain “power caller” that sees him interact with a range of colourful characters such as Armie Hammer’s arrogant CEO Steve Lift, Danny Glover’s wise old office hand Langston, Steven Yeun’s fiery protest organiser Squeeze, Terry Crews long suffering house owner Sergio and Tessa Thompson’s artistic soul Detroit.
Along this eccentric ride that’s filled with colour, sass and more than a few smarts, Riley examines a number of current hot topic issues in imaginative ways and while the film begins to lose steam deep into its second half, this is one of the more promising and inventive debuts in some time and it’s safe to say that Riley’s transition from musical artist to filmmaker is one to keep a very close eye on if he can conjure up this type of originality again.
At first awkward and mopey, Green’s transformation into a self-confident soul that morphs once more into concerned citizen is a bizarre one that Stanfield plays pitch-perfectly, ably supported by Thompson as long-suffering girlfriend Detroit, with the young actress once more delivering a turn that strengthens her case to be considered the best young actress working today.
Final Say –
Needing to be seen to be believed, Sorry to Bother You is an outrageously original offering that works across all its many genres. At times hilariously funny and at other times socially confronting, this is one of the year’s most memorable offerings.
4 soft-drink projectiles out of 5