Sorry to Bother You (2018) Poster

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8/10
Not everybody's cuppa
rk63142 September 2018
Wow, there are a lot of people who don't like this movie, and moreover, seem to mad that others like it. Some samples:

"I think people who are giving it high praise believe that's just what their supposed to do but the fact is it's just a dumpster fire of a movie."

" I RARELY write movie reviews but had to inform people of the facts on this one."

"The positive reviews are from movie snobs who think they are smarter than everyone else and recognize brilliance in pure garbage."

You get the point. It's almost like we're all supposed to like all the same things now. (In fairness, there were plenty of other reviewers who didn't like it, but said they're glad others enjoyed it.

I'm not a movie snob. I'm not a film executive and I have nothing to do with the film except I paid 6 bucks to see it last Tuesday. This is a very surreal satire. It won't be to everyone's liking, but it seems to me that we are getting more and more confused about the difference between fact and opinion. It's not a fact that this movie sucks, any more than it's a fact that this movie is great. These are classically opinions.

Me, I like movies that start sort of pseudo-normal and go into bizarre. This is right up my alley. It's a Repo Man for our generation. Genetic engineering, dead end call center jobs, megalomaniacal Bay Area billionaires trying to save the world, race relations and post-postmodern art commentary. It's all painted in a crazy, bigger-than-life science fiction brush. Yeah, it's weird as hell, and maybe ends a little weakly (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, anyone?) but has a method in its madness.

If you don't like absurdist humor, or if you don't like movies that are at least semi-overt political statements (especially if the political statement is opposed to yours. Anti-union, pro-business capitalists with short fuses be warned! You should give it a miss and just read the National Review's Ross Douthat's review. He saved you a lot of time worrying your beautiful mind about it.), and if you don't like a dollop of science fiction every now and then, yeah, you're going to probably hate it.

But your opinion is still not fact. I liked it. That's my OPINION. Get over it.
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8/10
Starts off incredible, ends scattered
uygooey22 December 2018
This movie had such incredible potential. Even towards the end at its peak, it was a great overall film. The ending was very unorganized though, but i still thoroughly enjoyed the film including the twists and turns.
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8/10
The WTF Movie of the Year
Jared_Andrews18 July 2018
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.
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6/10
Starts off strong, ends poorly.
idennis323 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
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.

SPOILER ALERT:

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.
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7/10
A sharp satire that runs a little too long and takes a bizarre left-turn that will alienate many
Bertaut24 December 2018
A paean to the proletariat. A pro-union battle cry. An ideological evisceration of late capitalism. A deconstruction of corporate greed and the concomitant commercialisation of self-worth necessary to succeed. A critique of identity politics. An allegory of institutional racism in big business. A lampooning of Silicon Valley bro culture. Sorry to Bother You, the debut feature of writer/director Boots Riley, is all this, and more. Very much in the key of absurdist fiction such as Dino Buzzati's Il deserto dei Tartari (1940) and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (1952), as well as race-conscious satirical cinema such as Putney Swope (1969) and Watermelon Man (1970), the film draws more direct inspiration from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust (c.1806-1831), Repo Man (1984), and the work of Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, and, bizarrely, Ken Loach.

A black comedy/Juvenalian satire/science fiction/horror/magic realist/allegorical character study, it's impossible to classify. Dealing with the obstacles facing African Americans in a white-dominated corporate milieu, and positing that the experience of workers is determined by both labour conditions and race, the film examines labour relations, wage issues, worker solidarity, unionism, mass media, and the dangers of betraying oneself and choosing corporate advancement over friendships, relationships, and personal integrity. Although it's a beat or two too long, and although the spectacularly bizarre left-turn at the end of the second act will surely alienate a lot of viewers, the deconstruction and comic appropriation of code-switching results in a film that is constantly inventive, highly confrontational, and extremely funny.

Set in Oakland, California in an "alternate present", the company WorryFree offers food and lodging in exchange for a lifetime labour contract with no wages, a practice which the Supreme Court has deemed legal and not equivalent to slavery. Standing against WorryFree is the radical group "Left Eye", who organise protests and vandalise WorryFree's billboards. Meanwhile, Cash Green (LaKeith Stanfield) is a telemarketer working for RegalView, who, upon the advice of a veteran co-worker (Danny Glover), discovers his "white voice" and rises to the top of the company's food chain. Gradually, however, he learns that RegalView is selling slave labour to WorryFree. Torn between exposing WorryFree and his substantial earnings, Cash's dilemma is exacerbated when WorryFree CEO, Steve Lift (a spectacular Armie Hammer) offers him a $1 million a year contract. However, Cash then makes a discovery that changes everything, not just for himself, but potentially for all of humanity.

At its heart, Sorry to Bother is an anti-corporate, proletarian rally cry, something with which Riley has been engaged for decades as lead vocalist for The Coup and Sweet Sweeper Social Club. However, unlike the recent satire Assassination Nation (2018), Sorry to Bother You is not especially interested in politics per se, certainly not in the explicit sense of films such as Stachka (1925), Medium Cool (1969), or Bulworth (1998).

This is not to say that the film ignores politics completely, rather it approaches the subject obliquely. For example, the country's most popular TV show, I Got the S--t Kicked Out of Me, involves people being violently assaulted by family and friends and then dunked in a vat of faeces, with Riley providing little to no contextualisation (think It's Not My Problem! from RoboCop (1987), where Bixby Snyder's (S.D. Nemeth) catchphrase, "I'd buy that for a dollar", is used as a one-size-fits-all response to every situation). This mindless consumption of meaningless and morally questionable content indicates the passivity of the masses, their critical faculties either dormant or absent entirely (an inverse verfremdungseffekt, if you will). Clips of the show feature prominently throughout the film, allowing Riley to depict a milieu where popular entertainment has reached an unimaginable low. Another example of a pseudo-political aspect of the film are the ubiquitous billboards and TV commercials advertising WorryFree, suggesting the corruption or co-opting of mass media.

Riley's focus is very much on economic issues, with a lot of the humour derived from pecuniary-based situations. One of the easiest ways to parse the film is to approach it as a parable about selling out, equal parts polemic and acknowledgement that it's next to impossible not to sell out in some way. Indeed, the last act of the film explicitly deals with the literal dehumanisation of the workforce (and I do mean "literal"). RegalView and WorryFree exist in an economic system built upon impoverishing the many for the benefit of the few, with Riley attempting to expose the importance of a poverty line for the continued functioning of late capitalism. Within such a system, he suggests, it is exceptionally difficult for African Americans to succeed unless they are willing to code-switch. In this sense, although the concept of "white voice" does have a practical function within the narrative, its most salient characteristic is as an object of allegorical satire, a hyperbolic caricature of what African Americans need to do to survive in the Caucasian bro-culture corporate ranks of Silicon Valley; they must literally relinquish part of the self and pretend to be something Other.

Aesthetically, the film adopts a visual style obviously influenced by Michel Gondry, and, to a lesser extent, Terry Gilliam. An especially interesting aesthetic device, as anyone who has seen the trailer can attest, is how white voice is handled - rather than having the actors simply speak in a different voice, Riley instead has the white actors' voices overdubbed; when Cash's friend Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) first hears Cash's white voice, he literally tells him "you sound overdubbed". However, the lip syncing is, presumably intentionally, far from perfect, with the voice not quite aligning with the actors' mouth movements. This throws the scenes "off" ever so slightly, creating an extra layer of surreality, and highlighting just how absurd the whole thing is, drawing attention to the lengths these people have to go to achieve real success. The fact that our culture places such value on "correct" intonation is, in and of itself, absurd, like an extreme version of the phone voice that pretty much everyone has, and by failing to perfectly sync white voice to black actor, Riley is able to deconstruct and draw attention to this absurdity.

The film's other big aesthetic innovation is having Cash plunge (not especially gracefully) into the living room of the people he calls, desk and all. Obviously, this draws attention to the level of intrusion with which most people greet telemarketers, but, at least in the early stages, it also highlights Cash's own discomfit at being the intruder, seen most clearly when he drops in on a couple having sex. This is an excellently-handled piece of visual shorthand, conveying Cash's internal process, without having him verbalise it at any point.

Also impressive is the acting. While the standout performances are definitely Hammer and Omari Hardwick (playing Mr. _______, Cash's superior at WorryFree), Stanfield certainly holds his own, with his body-language providing a clinic of wordless performing. Early on in the film, he's hunched over and put-upon, his every movement seemingly uncomfortable, as if ill at ease in his own skin. Later on, however, after his promotion at RegalView, his physicality acquires a more easy nature, he carries himself more confidently, as if high-powered telemarketing has helped him to find himself, something which is, in the context of the whole, doubly ironic. And no matter how surreal things get (and trust me, they get very, very surreal), the cast keep everything grounded, as if what they're experiencing at any given moment is the most natural thing in the world.

Of course, it isn't all perfect. The wildly unexpected plot twist at the end of the second act will be too much for some people (there were multiple walk-outs at the screening I attended). The film is also just a beat or two too long, and the bottom does fall out to an extent before it reaches its madcap dénouement. There's also a mid-credit scene that serves as a kind of epilogue that I'm led to believe was a re-shoot when test audiences found the initial ending too abrupt. For me, however, it doesn't entirely work, and I would have much preferred the original, somewhat darker, ending. Also, with so much satire and humour floating about, almost by definition, not every joke lands, However, the flip side to this is that when Riley's humour does hit the target, it's sublime - Mr. _______ literally beep-denied a name, for example, or Cash's two-word rap being gleefully cheered by Lift's assembled yuppies.

Sorry to Bother You is as timely and relevant as it is funny and irreverent, as progressive as it is radical, and as inventive as it is confident. Exploring the intersection between race and economics from a wholly satirical point-of-view, the film both condemns and sympathises with those who choose to sell-out in some way so as to climb the ladder of success. Now in his late-40s, Riley is a veteran political protestor, a Chomsky-literate agitator, who is here positing that the most significant divide in the US isn't between white and black, it's between those with money and those without. Suggesting that the desire to cross this divide can lead to a herd mentality, the film argues that the labour force must never forget their collective strength, and must never turn on one another, as in such a situation, management will use workers like horses.
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7/10
Hmm
djbattick21 October 2018
I always try to base my judgement of a film, on how much it can bring forth my emotions. The more a film can invoke my feelings the; whether that be love, fear or joy. That is what makes a movie great. I have stuck to that rule my whole life, and whether I am feeling in awe at another Nolan epic, or pure bitter frustration at sharknado 13, I have never stumbled across a single film to which I can make an exception.

That was in fact until I embarked on the journey known as "sorry to bother you".

This film is strange. I mean, reallyyy strange. A dystopian reality is constructed, using cheerful and colourful, mise-en-scene, picture and sound; as a poorly crafted mask to cover the dark undertones which hide in plain sight. The acting? Seamless. The humour? Hilarious. The plot? A positive unorthodox. And yet what emotion of mine does this film invoke? Misery.

The alternative reality conjured is so surreal, yet so real. The psychopathic nature of every single aspect of this creation bears all too many similarities to the world we too live in. So hyperbolized, so ridiculous, but still so true. Immediately after whatching this film I had to call my best friend, just to hear a sane voice, as even the one in my own head was failing to provide me that comfort.

This film does exactly what it sets out to do, it does so in stupendous fashion. And yet, I hated it. I recommended that none of my friends watch it. Though smiling throughout, my overall emotion was of such discomfort, that I really did not want anybody to go through the same. This is the best worst film I have ever seen. My rating has fluctuated from 4-10 throughout the writing of this review. But here you have it. 7/10. My final answer, a mediocre score, for a far from mediocre film.
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5/10
Despite being amusing and thematically engaging, this is one of the most bizarre, unhinged movies (and third acts) I've ever seen
andrewroy-0431629 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Sorry To Bother You is certainly bold and original, and there are good elements, but the third act just makes it feel absurd. The humor is the best part - there are several laugh out loud moments, and the humor intelligently uses the societal backdrop to great effect in its comedy. I was really enjoying it through the first two acts - Stanfeld is very good, and the symbolism of the society in the movie and themes of exploitation and unionization were really well done. As Stanfeld learned more about the society and continued to struggle between his moral values and individual success, the details of the world unfold and the viewer has a lot to contemplate. Unfortunately, the good build of the first two acts comes crashing down in the third act, which completely comes off the rails and cheapens the emotional and intellectual investment of the first two acts. Obviously the idea of horse people and the way it was presented was totally insane, but what really did it for me was Riley's failure to engage the audience in any way with Cassius' attempt to fight back against the company. All of these wild developments happen... and literally nothing changes? On top of being clearly unrealistic, the third act showed enormous inconsistencies in Cassius' character, WorryFree's structure, and the state of society as a whole. The final two scenes in which Cassius becomes a horse really sealed it for me as just completely ridiculous. There are many good ideas worth considering and it's relatively effective as a comedy, but the third act is far too incoherent for it to be a truly enjoyable experience.
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8/10
Sorry to Bother You, only applies to the title
davedflores19 October 2018
Sorry To Bother You, the most interesting movie of 2018, starts off going in one direction and takes not only the characters, but its audiences in a complete different direction. Set in Oakland, Ca., Cassius Green is the average American, chasing the dream of success by joining a telemarketing company. After discovering his 'white voice,' Cassius climbs the ranks of the company, bringing him into a life he did not expect at all, selling more than just the average household goods. Cassius is just the business man stuck between the two world of glory and greed, and humility with the working class. While the movie starts off as a comedy for audiences, feeling like its a relatable story about the average man, it takes a much darker turn. The film takes your mind for a spin, asking questions like 'what media is consuming the minds of the people' and 'do people realize what is happening around them?' Boots Riley wrote the film, showing that he can give audience something more than just the average blockbuster. He makes the story progress at a rapid, yet followable pace. Taking on multiple roles, Boots Riley also takes on directing the film, definitely pulling out a great performance from the actors. He also is able to show the pacing that he had when he wrote the film, very smoothly. Editing done by Terel Gibson brings to life the world in Cassuis Green's view of the world, from literal things to the way he sees his job as a telemarketer. Something that is done well is the scenes where they transition the time of day by jump cutting a sign from the WorryFree corporation, from clean to tagged with graffiti. Lastly, Doug Emmett shows the mood very well with his placement of lighting, from darker scenes in the film, to the bright mornings that Cassius wakes up. He uses lighting to highlight the mood that Cassius is in. While the film was superb, the only difference I would of made was using more of the well known actors, showing their character development, especially Danny Glover.
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7/10
Enjoyable artistry
sloththegarry13 October 2018
You just need to set aside your rationale, sit back and let the picture steer the wheel for your creative mind! This movie isn't trying to sell any opinions, it just is what it is and that's nothing short of a pleasant scenery. I recommend it to fans of Black Mirror or such movies.
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8/10
This Movie Will Mess You Up a Little
bkickish20 July 2018
I won't give anything away, but just prepare to be shocked and a little messed up by this movie. It's an understatement to say that it's not the movie you think you're gonna see. With that being said, it's got plenty of humor and we really liked it...but it definitely messed us up a little. You're gonna want to phone a friend after the movie ends so you can re-adjust to the real world.
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6/10
Ambitious, Yet Scattered
Yee_Reviews11 May 2018
Good: The concept was original and different and the first two-thirds of the movie were interesting/engaging. The film is filled with talent from Tessa Thompson to Armie Hammer. But the true standout is Lakeith Stanfield's character who is relatable with his struggles and goal in life of making a difference and mattering in the world. I do like the themes the film tackles like the corruption of big companies with its hunger for power and money.

Bad: The film bounces around too much with its subplots. Near the end, the story goes for more of a shock value and the social problems it started to develop gets lost in a bad acid trip. Some of the ideas and characters were not fully developed as a result of the film being fast paced and messy. I personally did not find the jokes funny, but my audience was laughing for the most part.

Overall: This film is a political satire so it is not for everyone, however I believe there is a certain crowd that will absolutely admire this film and praise it for its originality and humor. The film juggles too much, but I appreciate Boots Riley's first time directorial debut ambitions.

3/5
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8/10
If Terry Gilliam were black . . . .
buttonsforeyes9 December 2018
Marvellous, odd ball & a great way to spend a couple of hours. If you like wacky story telling or anything by the great Gilliam then this will work for you. American cinema needs this kind of indie style movie, to offset the general bilge produced by US mainstream cinema. Beautifully shot, with a barking story line - A fine way to pass an evening.
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7/10
A Darkly Funny Satire
zfischer-2043717 October 2018
Sorry To Bother You is a weird film. Not that that's a bad thing. It takes strange twists and turns, all while saying interesting things and presenting something thought provoking.

STBY is about Cassius "Cash" Green, a man who just needs to make a buck at his horrible telemarketer job and just get by. After finding he has a talent for sales while using his "white voice", he's propelled to the upper echelon of elite salespeople at the company. But that's just the first act. Any more and I'll spoil what this film has in store for you. The pace of it all is very quick and kept me wondering what could happen next. Every time I thought I knew where it was going, it jerked me into another dimension. The only gripe I had with the story is that the side plot of the friend who is trying to get with his girlfriend seems totally unnecessary. It could be taken out of the movie completely and nothing would be different.

The acting is great, with all the actors either embracing the insanity or not knowing what exactly to do with it. Everyone is fun to watch and see how they would react to their new situations.

The cinematography was excellent. From the first act and how dull and drab and out of focus everything is due to our main character's disinterest in his life and job, to the second act's sharp clarity where he is focused on doing the best he can at his job. The third act feels like a dream where everything is bright but hazy. There's a lot of great subtle visual metaphors throughout that make it fun to analyze as well. I would love to watch this again and see what I missed.

The soundtrack for this is just as trippy and weird. Lots of loops and weird instrumentation can be heard. Some members of the band Tune-Yards do the composition and it really does show. It keeps the kooky and psychedelic atmosphere alive.

Aside from some wonky "white voice" lip sync and the one story gripe, this is an awesome movie. Don't expect to laugh as much, but definitely expect to say "WTF???!!???" a whole lot.
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4/10
It's a uhhhhhhh . . . . experience
smleblanc-9456519 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Ok so I literally created an account just to review this movie let's go

I saw this movie last night with a few of my friends. None of us knew anything about this movie going in other than it had something to do with telemarketing and was highly rated online. Afterwards, we had to go get some ice cream and sit down for a bit to scream and process what the hell we just watched.

This movie is a surreal fever dream that has a few great scenes and something interesting to say about the socio-political atmosphere of the US right now, but is mostly just a total mindscrew of a movie with no real purpose or direction. The whole movie is confusing, feels like it's 4 hours long, and the goddamn horse-people freaked me out so much I felt like I was gonna have nightmares.

I'm honestly really conflicted about this movie because it took some really interesting risks and clearly had some thought put into it, but it took such a bizarre turn that I genuinely feel like I can't understand what just happened. Obviously, it wasn't my kind of movie but if you go into it expecting a wild, nonsensical LSD trip then go for it, I guess.

But beware the horses. I'm scared to sleep
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8/10
Sorry to Bother You - Dark Social Commentary.
brankovranjkovic13 December 2018
The beginning is very like 'The Wolf of Wall Street', this film is also all about capitalism and greed. Our hero, Cassius is struggling to make end meet, he applies to be a telemarketer and quickly promoted to a 'Power Caller'

He discovers that senior management are exploiting its employees to generate more profit (you'll see how towards the end). The humour at the beginning turns into dark social commentary with lots of symbolism.

I'm always apprehensive when a poster says 'the best film of the year by far' Well ... it's not the 'best', but very good and definitely different.
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10/10
Hysterical, Thoughtful Satire
bastille-852-73154729 June 2018
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.

Riley's ambitious filmmaking has a variety of possible influences (Spike Lee, Jordan Peele, Alejandro Inarritu, Charles Kaufman) yet feels wholly original--and genuinely, howlingly funny and socially relevant despite being so unconventional--from beginning to end. Very highly recommended. 10/10
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8/10
Corporate Nightmare
alex-fyffe25 July 2018
Blend together the surreal absurdity of a Charlie Kaufman script with the broad satire of Robocop and you end up with Sorry to Bother You, a film about the dehumanizing exploitation of workers in corporate America. This is a delightfully bizarre first feature from writer/director Boots Riley, who highlights the problems with "stick(ing) to the script" at the workplace and accepting mindlessly violent entertainment from television and art. Some of the strange imagery and ideas in the film may turn away certain viewers, but this is one of the most unique viewing experiences at the theater this year and should not be missed by fans of weird satire.
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5/10
Crude Art
view_and_review7 July 2018
I would definitely classify this movie as artsy. By that I mean that the writer tried to convey a message in an indirect and flamboyant manner.

The appropriately named Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is a struggling, unemployed young man who wants to do something big with his life. He gets the opportunity when he's hired on at a telemarketing company. As he makes one sale after another he is offered the dream gig of being a PC (power caller). As a power caller he can change his life for the better but at what moral cost?

The first half of the movie was really good. It had a good flow to it, the humor was funny, and the plot was clear. The last half of the movie was different, almost like two different people wrote and directed the first and second half. The flow of it seemed to taper off, the humor waned, and the message became almost abstract. As it was I was trying to fully understand all of the visual and verbal non sequiturs but then I became a bit bewildered with the direction the film went. It sort of devolved into something crude and crass. I'm sure there was a point in that but I didn't see a need.

This was Boots Riley's writing and directorial debut. There was some promise here but I think it missed the mark. I hope he gets another shot to do another project and--whereas I don't want him to dumb it down or make it commercial--I'd like to see a more palatable movie.
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10/10
The Most Original Movie This Year, Guaranteed
christianrmaxwell22 July 2018
From seeing the first trailer for this movie, I thought that this movie looked insanely original, funny, and somewhat straightforward. I was correct on all but the straightforward part. This movie moves in directions that you would never see coming, and I truly mean this in the best way possible. The acting in this movie is top notch, from even the smallest of characters. Lakeith Stanfield and Armie Hammer are the two actors that really stood out to me, however, this is not saying to discredit any of the other actors involved. This movie is strange and extremely fast paced. The directing style is unlike any movie I have ever seen, and it moves just fast enough to keep you on your toes while not moving too fast for you to comprehend. There are so many themes within this movie, and all of them are shown within either a comedic context, a darker context, or both. All in all this is a movie about capitalism and how companies are driven to make money rather than care about the well-being of their workers. This is shown through more extreme absurdist examples as the movie goes on, and it just works. The movie is quirky, and there are moments that will have you laughing out loud just at the pure absurdity of what you are witnessing. The writing for this movie is EXTREMELY witty and snappy. Even Terry Crews, who played a very small role, had some great lines. All in all, this movie is extremely unique, it takes huge risks from a directing standpoint, almost tempting people not to like it. It is just so different from any other movie that you can watch that some people will be instantly turned away. For me though, everything in this movie just worked, and I have to say there is a new contender for best movie of the year, in my opinion. Outstanding movie and hope to see much more from Boots Riley (the director) very soon.
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5/10
Not For Everyone
stevendbeard15 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I saw "Sorry to Bother You", starring Lakeith Stanfield-Atlanta_tv, Get Out; Tessa Thompson-Westworld_tv, Thor:Ragnarok; Danny Glover-Proud Mary, the Lethal Weapon movies and Armie Hammer-The Birth of a Nation, Mirror Mirror. This is a weird movie. Now, I like weird but it has a lot of symbolism-which I'm not too fond of-and it is not like it is being advertised. From the trailers, it looks like a comedy about a telemarketer that finds a way to make money, and that is part of it, but then it goes into some really weird ......stuff. Lakeith plays the telemarketer trying to make a living-unsuccessfully-that gets tips from his co-worker, Danny, on how to use his 'white voice' to get more sales. FYI: David Cross does Lakeith's white voice, Patton Oswalt does another character's voice and Rosario Dawson does the voice of the elevator. Tessa plays Lakeith's girlfriend, who is an anti-establishment radical type. The other telemarketers decide to go on strike, just as Lakeith gets promoted and moves upstairs. That is where Lakeith meets Armie, the boss that is against unions-Duh!-and heads a separate company called 'Worry Free Living' that provides food, security and health care for anyone that will work for free. Then, there is the horse/human hybrids that are used as slave labor. Remember, I said weird. Forest Whitaker does one of the voices of the hybrids. This movie is not for everyone. It's directed by first timer Boots Riley, who is in a rap/hip hop group called 'The Coup'. It is different and if you like social satire and symbolism, you may enjoy it more than I did. It's rated "R" for language, drug use and sexual content-including nudity-and has a running time of 1 hour & 45 minutes. I would not buy it on DVD. I wouldn't rent it, either-unless I was high or something. If you really wanted to see it, I'd wait until it comes to cable.
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8/10
Good movie
k-597264 May 2020
This movie is good but it gave me an existential crisis but it's still great
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8/10
A sneaky Socio-political WTF flick
MichaelKamalEzzat10 April 2020
A Fresh , Bizarre , Electrifying , WTF Comedy with a decent socio-political commentary that flew under the Radar.
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8/10
Sort of like a really good Black Mirror episode, but on acid
Jeremy_Urquhart11 March 2020
Sorry To Bother You is a film where I'm not at all surprised or disappointed by the fairly low user rating and negative reviews on this website. I'm all for people having their own opinions, and in this case, even though I thoroughly enjoyed this one, I can more than understand why some may have been baffled or frustrated by certain decisions. Boots Riley's feature film debut is overwhelmingly bold and unapologetic about what it wants to be, and that's not only refreshing to see in general, but extra admirable when it comes from a first time director. He's certainly a filmmaker to pay attention to in the future, after a debut that's this compelling and gloriously off the rails.

On paper, Sorry To Bother You can be seen as covering familiar themes, regarding- broadly speaking- race, class, capitalism, and the decline of society. I get the sense it's often hard to make movies dealing with this sort of subject matter without it seeming too derivative, and I know personally I've lost count of how many times I've come away from a movie thinking that I liked the message, but didn't find the execution particularly exciting or entertaining. Sorry To Bother You works hard to subvert this, and for me personally, many of its bizarre ideas and out there concepts worked and paid off well. Even, to some extent, the particularly controversial third act twist that seems to have polarised many viewers, perhaps understandably. It surprised and confused me, for sure, but also gave me a really unpleasant feeling of horror that I rarely get out of movies, and certainly wasn't expecting out of this one.

That aside, the film does have an absurd, heavily satirical tone, and if you can do your best to get on the film's wavelength I think there's a great deal to laugh at and think about. Because yes, thankfully the movie is genuinely funny. Despite dealing with serious themes, it never really feels as though is strays out of the realm of absurdist satire, maintaining a vibrant, fast pace throughout. In fact, I almost wish it were longer. It's not that the pace is too fast necessarily; maybe more-so that I loved the world the film constructed, and just wanted to see more of it. It's the world building and detail that made me compare it to Black Mirror in my review headline, although it is more thought out and contains a higher level of production value than your average Black Mirror episode, which tends to be more direct and intent on honing in on one particular social theme or issue at a time. Sorry To Bother You tackles many, and that coupled with its fast pace and immense attention to detail makes me think a second viewing would help me appreciate the movie even more.

The cast all impress here, with star LaKeith Stanfield in particular standing out. I've seen him in a few supporting roles, so it was great to finally see him in a lead performance, and he carried the movie well (apparently Donald Glover was at one point being considered for the role, and I'm sure he would've been great here too). The soundtrack is as offbeat (and sometimes eerie) as the film's overall tone and style, and complements the slightly sci-fi and boldly colourful aesthetic of the film well. The movie as a whole might not always work for every audience member, and there were a few points where I was admittedly confused and slightly overwhelmed, but I can say that Sorry To Bother You is never boring. Even if it's frustrating, I can't see many viewers not wanting to finish it once they start.

I guess it was too weird to get a lot of attention and awards consideration upon release, but the odds are in its favour for Sorry To Bother You becoming some kind of cult movie going forward. It's smart, funny, and unafraid to take risks, arguably even to the movie's occasional detriment. Still, if you're in the mood for something offbeat, or want to see another movie that deals with class and capitalism after watching the recent Best Picture winner Parasite, I'd easily recommend Sorry To Bother You. It may be a hard movie to top, but nevertheless, I can't wait to see how Riley chooses to follow it up.
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8/10
What an odd movie.
Lazy_movie_watcher8 February 2020
Well, I watched this movie without knowing anything about it. It started off as kind of a racial statement but then it turned into so much more with a 3rd act that absolutely no one would expect. This movie is moving, somewhat sentimental, and definitely shocking. I can't say much more without saying that the ending is a surprise.
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8/10
Sorry to Bother You - Cinema with CJ Review
cinemawithcj11 December 2018
Sorry to Bother You is unlike anything I've really seen before. That's a statement that can be overused or undersold, but Sorry to Bother You is legitimately one of the most original and resonant voices in film I've seen in western cinema lately.

Boots Riley's directorial debut off his own original screenplay, while this film deserves it in its own way, I'm sure it won't be recognised for any screenplay honours for just how out there Sorry to Bother You actually is.

Inventive and off-kilter, Sorry to Bother You feels so much like if Charlie Kaufman made a

movie except if it was full-on extroverted over introverted, and fuelled entirely by cocaine. It's a film that plays with structure and realism and art and quirky concepts and ideas that make for great visuals.

It's effortlessly brought to life through its cast. Whether that's the leads like the brilliantly cast Lakeith Stanfield, or his "white voice" in David Cross, or even side characters like the fantastic Armie Hammer, who has one of the greatest character introductions ever.

Sorry to Bother You is a feast of brilliant satire, though not aimed towards the current American administration (though you could definitely argue that it's unintentionally great as one). It speaks to how big business use the workhorses of industry for their greater good, how strings are pulled in the world to further exploit their way down the chain.

Riley's film is effortlessly entertaining, intelligent, batshit crazy, wonderfully vibrant, drastically original, artistic, abstract, and just entirely pleasing across the board I.

That's not to say the film is perfect, it's not. It plods around a little and feels longer than what it should be, but I can't lie and say I wasn't entertained the entire time. As the runtime ticks away it does progress further and further into the darkness and into the twister mirror pointed at the current world. It is fiercely anti-capitalist, it is full on with its motivations as a movie, it is a hell of a ride.

Sorry to Bother You is a mission statement and it is a brilliant first step into Riley's cinematic career. I hope for more from this guy and I want him to go even further, if that's possible. This is a phenomenal first film for a director, and this is the sort of vision we need to see in cinema.

Absurd, abstract, and astounding, I wish it were a tiny bit more refined, but still...
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