>> I like to think that films are time capsules—little pieces of a generations beliefs and values preserved over time. There are a handful of films from the past few years that reflect our nation’s desire for change; these films include Get Out, Mother!, and—most recently—Sorry to Bother You. Sorry to Bother You follows a young successful telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) and the grotesque consequences that follow his success. It is the directorial debut of rapper and music producer Boots Riley.
A film as dark as it is funny, Sorry to Bother You is like an unpleasant fever dream. It starts off well and enjoyable, but becomes nauseating and unhinged. Yet, it works—not for everyone though. As I left the theatre, I saw some pretty unamused and bewildered expressions. Especially from my two friends, who were not very keen about the film’s second act. On the car ride home my friend asked, “Have you ever seen a film like that before?” The first film that came to my mind was Darren Aronofsky's biblical allegory, Mother!. Yet, Sorry to Bother You is a film that is incomparable when it comes to direction. It’s unconventional and quirky visuals set it apart from the rest. The film takes place in an alternate version of present-day Oakland that is bogged with fake product placement, satirical versions of popular shows, and its own viral videos. In a society where we have become desensitized and accustomed to these things, Sorry to Bother You puts our cultural derangement into perspective.
While the film is almost two hours long, it felt like I was sitting in the theatre for over three. This is a film that tackles too much in under two hours. As the film’s kookiness spirals out of control, subplots vanish and the jokes begin to fall flat—a consequence of such a dense and fast-paced film. The average moviegoer will leave unsatisfied after all the likable aspects of the film turn gruesome in the second act.
One of the most important aspects is the film’s stance on people who become acclimated to problems, and those who take action. In a time where many group’s rights and freedoms are in jeopardy, Sorry to Bother You makes you question who is putting personal success over basic human rights. While it may not be the most enjoyable to watch, Sorry to Bother You is a tiny fucked up time capsule of everything wrong with our current society. The film’s bold statements tell us Riley is, in fact, not sorry to bother us. 7/10 <<