Sorry to Bother You: the most ambitious film of the year

With early hype generated by critics, Sorry to Bother You hits on almost every cylinder.


Doug Emmett/Sundance Institute

Photo taken of Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius Green, in the head bandage seen in posters for the film.

Initially, walking out of the theater, I didn’t like Sorry to Bother You. Granted, I didn’t dislike the film either; I was frustratingly split on my opinion of the film, with elements I enjoyed being offset with the constant question of: “what exactly did I just watch? Now, months after my initial viewing, I’ve confidently come to my conclusion that Sorry to Bother You is an ambitiously awe-inspiring film that deserves all the praise it received.

Sorry to Bother You is directed by Boots Riley and stars Atlanta FX star Lakeith Stanfield, as well as Thor: Ragnarok actress Tessa Thompson and Danny Glover.

Photo taken of Cassius “Cass” Green (played by Lakeith Stanfield) and his girlfriend Detroit (played by Tessa Thompson)

The basic premise of the film goes as follows: Cassius Green is living in his uncle’s garage in Oakland with his artistic girlfriend Detroit, and decides to become a telemarketer at a company by the name of RegalView in order to change his current situation. After some useful, if troubling, advice from his older coworker Langston, Cassius gets better and better at his job with each passing day, to the point where he’s put in the esteemed, mysterious position of “Power Caller,” to the displeasure of his coworkers who went on strike due to low pay. Now in his new position, Cassius learns of the dark secrets that RegalView holds, and it’s up to him to expose these secrets.

Image of Cassius and Langston (played by Danny Glover)

Sorry to Bother You is, first and foremost, resoundingly hilarious, as well as intelligent. The dialogue is witty and entertaining, with one of the highlights of the movie being a scene of Cassius and a coworker passive-aggressively shouting pleasantries at each other while a crowd surrounds them. However, the themes of subtle racism and corruption in the background really make this film shine, like the all-too-relatable use of the “white voice” RegalView workers use in order to win over customers.

Without delving into major spoilers, the film’s madness takes shape in the second half of the movie. By all intents and purposes, the film’s first half goes as expected from the content shown in the trailers. However, a Twilight Zone-esque twist halfway through the film completely flips the plot on its head, leading viewers to visibly question what movie they were watching.

Photo taken of Tessa Thompson, Boots Riley, and Lakeith Stanfield at the MTV Movie Awards.

While initially not keen on this certain plot point, I came to realize it made perfect sense. The plot twist was a sly metaphor for how we as people are being used as “workhorses” for corporations, and therefore paints the movie as a satirical film in opposition of this current situation.

An article from the New York Times agrees with this sentiment, writing “like other works of contemporary satire, ‘Sorry to Bother You‘ sometimes has a strenuously chaotic, all-over-the-place feeling. [Boots] Riley misses a few easy targets…he is after big game, though…and his aim, while eccentric, is very often true.”

Sorry to Bother You will be released on Blu-Ray on October 23rd. You can currently watch the film on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes.