Generally speaking, the mainstream American comedy industry over the past decade or two has felt very much like a machine, cranking out almost exclusively stoner comedies and un-original rom-coms. Films that seem closer to an uncomfortable, two hour stand-up set, rather than an actual film. Recently, however, lower budget comedies have been taking this trend and turning it on its head. Get Out, for example, is quite a generic scenario, boy goes and visits new girlfriends family, and completely subverts all expectation by transforming into a surreal horror-fueled commentary on racism in America. Sorry to Bother You takes that surrealism and turns it up to 11.
This scathing, political satire is based in a slightly dystopian version of Earth. Cassius Green is a worker in a trashy call center and he’s told that in order to climb up the ranks, he needs to talk using a “white voice”. When he starts doing this he suddenly rises through the ranks, becoming a power caller. With its incredibly un-subtle anti-capitalist agenda, Sorry to Bother You offers an incredibly fresh, lively viewing experience, full of creative visual comedy and stunning cinematography.
This was Boots Riley’s first feature film and he has done an incredible job. He has created a pulsating world that feels alive.
The use of TV news to subtly show the rise of “Worry Free”; an Amazon-esque company that offers workers lifetime contracts works exceptionally well. It develops as a very clever world before progressing into a more important aspect of the plot. The world in the film reflects the chaotic and unstable state of modern day America, with massive social upheaval and protests against the government.
The entire cast pull off incredible performances, Lakeith Stanfield plays his anti-hero role to perfection, and Tessa Thompson is fantastic as his social activist girlfriend.
Sorry to Bother You is easily the most inventive and unique film of the year, merging comedy, with elements of horror and sci-fi to create an outstanding commentary on today’s society. The visual comedy and brilliant soundtrack make this a stylish film that by no means lacks in substance.
Words: Alex Thomson