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Sorry To Bother You (2018)
Directed by: Boots Riley
Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omarie Hardwick, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Forest Whitaker
Running Time: 1h 45m
TMM Score: 5 stars out of 5
STRENGTHS: Directorial Vision, Acting, Production Design
When Cassius Green adopts an unusual sales technique his employer at RegalView telemarketing puts him on the Power Caller roll, landing him a raise and swanky benefits, but how will his old friends and girlfriend/artist/activist Detroit, take it when he abandons their fledgling efforts to unionize and how will Cash live with himself as he discovers what Power Callers are really selling?
Occasionally I see a film that makes me want to walk right back into the theater and buy another ticket. This is a film that makes me want to buy all my friends tickets to see it.
"Sorry to Bother You" is probably a challenging film for many who may have been a steady diet of today's fast food films, formulaic, easy, and brainless rehashes of old properties or special effects extravaganzas which substitute new super suits for character development and the most daring messages we here are 'racism is bad' and 'believe in yourself.'
"Sorry to Bother You" is the sort of film that gets me and a few film foodies really excited because it is doing new things, giving voice to people we rarely hear, and doing it with reckless abandon for traditional stories and cliche's. What can you expect from a director who heads up a rap/r&b outfit that sports lyrics like "we be in bed together like Bush and Hussein."
I know there will be people who say this movie is too weird but hearing people say reminds me of people who look at foreign food habits and say "How can you eat that? Eww."
In a lot of ways this is a film which feels like a modern version of "Brazil." It's about a cog in a machine that is consistently trying to break out just to find out that he is still a part of what he hates. Every window he sneaks out of leads him into a new prison cell and there are no easy answers or ways out.
The world of this film is fictitious, for sure, and in most ways, more like a fairytale or allegorical version of our society, so if you don't see what this film is trying to correlate for you, then you are blind. It has a point of view it wants to get across but it never loses sight of a modern film's inherent purpose, to entertain. The humor may be dark at times but not in a macabre "Death of Stalin" way. The humor tends to be more absurdist but socially relevant, which is saying a lot for a movie where one of the main characters talks in white voice, having his voice dubbed by David Cross (Arrested Development).
The philosophy of this film is very resonant with modern mindsets which might explain the amazing cast involved. Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omarie Hardwick, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, and Forest Whitaker? How do you get all those names signed on for a low budget indie? You write a script that speaks. This film doesn't just speak, it preaches.
I could write about this movie for a lot longer but part of its charm is how unique it feels and how it slowly walks you into accepting more absurdity and I don't want to ruin that effect by revealing what happens in it.
What I can say is that it is excellent, and if you see it and think its like any other film you've seen this year, I'll go see "Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again."
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