In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success – which propels him into a macabre universe.In an alternate version of Oakland, Cassius Green gets a telemarketing job and finds the commission paid job a dispiriting struggle as a black man selling to predominately white people over the phone. That changes when a veteran advises him to use his “white voice,” and the attitude behind it to make himself more appealing to customers. With a bizarrely high-pitched accent, Cassius becomes a success even as his colleagues form a union to improve their miserable jobs. Regardless, Cassius finds himself promoted a “Power Caller” selling the most morally abhorrent but lucrative products and services as his connection to his girlfriend and colleagues fades away. However, Cassius’ conscience arises anew as he finds himself in the midst of his boss’ bizarre world of condescending bigoted decadence and his sinister plans to create the perfect subservient work force with Cassius’ help.Sorry to Bother You is a strange, surreal, hilarious satire guided by the intentionally unsteady hand of rapper-activist turned debut director, Boots Riley.
It dabbles in commentary on media, society, race and working-class issues-so many poignant messages, some more successfully delivered than others. The fearless absurdism will likely distract some viewers from a couple of these messages, but I’m okay with that. I take this wonderful creation much more for its entertainment value than anything else.
The messages that do resonate should come through clearly. Riley’s story doesn’t shroud itself in murky metaphors. It tells us exactly how to interpret the bizarre world he has created.
Rising star LaKeith Stanfield plays Cassius ‘Cash’ Green, a deep-thinker who lives in his uncle’s garage with his artistic girlfriend named Detroit (the invaluable Tessa Thompson). It comes as no surprise that a man who goes by Boots would opt to give his characters unusual names. These two are just the beginning.
To collect enough scratch to keep up with his rent and put gas in the rusty bucket he drives, he takes a job as a telemarketer. When a wise elder advises him to use “white voice” to improve his sales, Cash starts to rake in the green.
After he rises the ranks of the telemarketing world, ascending to the divine status of power caller, he attracts the attention of an eccentric, drug-fueled CEO, Steve Lift (Armie Hammer). His company, WorryFree (a place where employees feel anything but) hides a dark new idea. But when the secret leaks to the public, his stock unexpectedly skyrockets, and Lift is declared a pioneering genius.
The rational-minded public undoubtedly opposed Lift’s plan, but big business carried on. As union organizer Squeeze (Steve Yuen) explains to Cassius, “if you show people a problem, but they don’t know what to do about it, they just learn to get used to it.”
If you think you have any of this plot figured out, think again. It makes a radical left turn in the third act that will tempt some viewers to jump ship. My advice: stay on board. Even if you don’t want to totally buy in, just hang around to see where this new direction leads.
The film flies along with such easy energy early, then hits turbulence when trying to figure out how to end this thing. Riley introduces so much psychedelic madness that by the end it’s nearly impossible to wrap up the story. But at some point, one must come down from every trip.
Even with as jarringly fantastical as it is, in many ways this movie also feels incredibly real. As Riley puts it, he strives to “break down reality to help us better understand it.” Mission accomplished.I had high hopes for this movie and it fullfills half of it. I saw this at a special screening in Baltimore Parkway theatre yesterday and I still can’t believe how strong the first of the movie is and how it gets derailed so quickly.
The movie is about Cassius Green, a man who gets a telemarketing job and rising to the ranks using his “white voice”. The concept alone lets people know the film deals with themes of identity. But this theme is tarnished by the big plot twist.
The big twist is that the telemarketer’s goal is to mutate workers into horse like beings in order to use them as labor and control them by making them snort this capsule that can be mistaken for cocaine. Sounds silly right? Because it is. None of that made sense literally came out of left field and you have to deal with for the last 30minutes – hour of the movie. And the ending has Cassius turn into the horse like being and come and destroy the big bad guy’s mansion. It totally ruins the previous themes and becomes a weird, forced sci-fi movie. It’s as if the director wanted to mash Get Out with District 9 together. It just doesn’t work.
The movie overall is hilarious. Literally the movie is PACKED with jokes from start to finish. The dubbing of the “white voice” is odd as sometimes the actors expressions and the voice don’t match up. The animatronics are horrendous like TMNT 3 Bad. But the real crime is how they ditched this really thematic angle of the story dealing with identity crisis and how Cassius is selling out to “the man” due to his greed and traded it for a weird sci fi scene about mutation and how they’re making slaves out of us.
Although creative, the film suffers from its storytelling and for that it gets a 6/10. There’s much to enjoy but you’ll end up confused in the end.I walked into this movie at an advance screening expecting something unique, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer brilliance of this satirical masterwork. Hilarious from beginning to end while also subversive, this film joins some of the finest satires of its generation–from “South Park” to some of the best episodes of “Saturday Night Live” to “Wild Tales.”
The story follows Cassius, an African-American telemarketer in Oakland. When told to use his “white voice” on the job while making calls, he quickly rises through the ranks of his profession–and ends up getting a hefty promotion. All of a sudden, things start to spiral out of control. I definitely won’t give anything else away, as doing so would spoil what clearly must be experienced for oneself. The film’s script is incredibly strong and is consistently hilarious. I laughed more while watching this film than any other movie in recent memory. Its dialogue is not only humorous, but incredibly frank and on-the-nose in its brutal honesty. The film’s social consciousness and commentary intersect in ways that are thoughtful, snappy, and deeply rooted in (often unfortunately) a sense of genuine realism. Yet the film’s image of the world is not equal to our society with microscopic precision, as its humor often tends to look at current societal issues with the mirror of a macabre fun-house.
Performances in the film are outstanding throughout, and the film is incredibly engaging throughout its run time. Free of pacing issues, it moves at a fast pace and twists and turns so unusually that one will never know what could happen next. This erratic nature is truly part of the film’s genius. If such a style of narrative filmmaking was attempted to be used as a technique in almost any other film, it would fail miserably, but Boots Riley was able to commendably stay one step ahead of audiences while making them laugh profusely and question why and how our society may be in deep-seated decline. Also noteworthy is the film’s soundtrack, which is a superb mix of rap and pop. The movie can often be strange, but viewers will be all the more thankful for its genuine audaciousness upon the film’s conclusion.
Original titleSorry to Bother You
IMDb Rating7.4 8,582 votes
TMDb Rating7 47 votes