Directed by Boots Riley
The fanciful story of Cassius ‘Cash’ Green (Lakeith Stanfield - “Short Term 12”) depicted on “Sorry To Bother You”, the first feature film by Boots Riley, deserves some attention. Set in Oakland, California, this cute, scruffy, and flawed sci-fi comedy entertains throughout, from its inaugural scene - an ordinary interview for a telemarketing job - to its clumsy, surreal conclusion, which takes us to a totally different realm without unbinding the previous ideas. In between, you can witness the ascension and fall of Green, a broke yet ambitious African American telemarketer, who, talking with the teasing ‘white voice’ suggested by his experienced co-worker Langston (Danny Glover), attains the worry-free life he had always dreamt of. However, that prosperity is fed at expense of human exploitation and obscure businesses carried out by the company he works for.
Because of that, he left on bad terms with his artist girlfriend, Detroit (Tessa Thompson), and disconnected from his pals, Sal (Jermaine Fowler) and Squeeze (Steven Yeun), who are busy fighting the miserable work conditions through a labor union. Craftily manipulated by Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), the vicious CEO of the company, Green realizes he inhabits an insane world of transgression, iniquity, and debauchery.
Even if the deadpan humor doesn’t always triumph, there is some mordant social commentary expressed with a satirical posture, which sort of replaces it. Stanfield is a wonderful revelation, a crucial element for the film’s pulsation.
With “Sorry To Bother You”, Riley wants to alert people for something that goes beyond pure racism. He does in a showy, senseless, and ridiculous way, but this is all part of his strategy.