Anti-capitalist movies are nothing new in Hollywood, we’re used to seeing massive wealthy corporations portrayed as evil, but Boots Riley’s directorial debut, Sorry to Bother You, is easily the most shocking movie of its kind.
Set in an alternate reality of Oakland, California, the film tells the story of the aptly named Cassius “Cash” Green’s rapid rise through the ranks at his telemarketing job by adopting a “white voice”. Once he gets promoted however he soon finds himself wrapped up in a major conspiracy, alienating his loved ones and having to choose between money, his humanity, and unionizing with his colleagues.
The themes of code-switching, stepping on backs to rise up the corporate ladder, and the exploitation of workers are masterfully explored through bizarre comedic means and special effects; Cash’s use of his “white voice” (courtesy of the hilarious David Cross) is almost Jedi-level. The film offers an excellent take down of capitalism; once Cash is promoted he literally agrees to sell slave labour because the price was right. What makes the film so effective is that the portrayal of the antagonist, the corporation Worry Free is spine-chilling, yet firmly rooted in reality. This could be said for all the other “crazy” elements of the story.
This movie captivates its audience with a balance between self-awareness, comedy and drama. Atlanta and Selma star Lakeith Stanfield leads the film as a telemarketer for a corrupt cooperation and works his way to the top by selling himself out and leaving his co-workers and friends behind in the process of it. Through his journey, it is revealed how messed up his company really is. Going into the movie, I’ll be honest with you, I was not excepting to laugh as much as I thought I would. Lakeith is very well known in the industry for giving you that banter-filled experience but I did not except this movie to be on that same level. With his supporting cast: Tessa Tompson, Omari Hardwick, Lily James, Steven Yeun and co, I feel that they did a good job with the delivery of the movie. There is someone there that helps this moral of the story of the movie relatable to the audience.
The music and cinematography did very well telling the story and showcasing particular scenes. It almost felt like a high (mind you, I’ve never smoked but I’d assume that’s what people could imagine watching this movie).
Overall, its not a must go see movie but if you don’t know what to watch and want to take a trip to the movies, then this is your film