The early months of 2018 will be remembered as pre-Sorry to Bother You and the latter months as post-Sorry to Bother You. It’s appropriate that this film was released the same week as the new Deafheaven album: both shook up the top of my year lists.
Following in the footsteps of director Melvin van Peebles, Boots Riley has crafted a film sharper than a well-fitted suit, keeping the political spirit alive from his vocal days with The Coup and his Tom Morello collaboration, Street Sweeper Social Club.
The film is fun and self-aware, and accurately shows society’s mentality for what it is. With the current market of Jordan Peele, Steve McQueen, Donald Glover, F. Gary Gray, Ava DuVernay and a host of other African American filmmakers, the world is witnessing a resurgence of top independent film-making spearheaded by new culture and ideals. Working within themes of Marxism and socialism and the evils of fascism and totalitarianism, Sorry to Bother You, like many other works of art, is an answer to the current political administration in the United States. Not substituting style for story, the look of this film is pleasing. The use of neon colours in an almost Only God Forgives-esque fashion makes the images on screen pop and helps lift the film above most of the glossed and over-lit digital films we’ve recently seen.
Sorry to Bother You joins a wave of art that realizes the best way to depict black Americans’ reality is to depart from it: https://t.co/spPzONTwXo pic.twitter.com/5lx9Wh1rvx
— Slate (@Slate) July 18, 2018
Lakeith Stanfield, hot off his amazing performances in Get Out and in – what is arguably the best show on television right now – Atlanta, leads the pack of perfect performances helmed by brilliant visionary director Boots Riley. Even Armie Hammer gives a flamboyant performance that makes Call Me By Your Name look like elementary drama club. Boots Riley’s writing is music to the ears. Each and every word spoken in this film flows and has fun with the English language. A science fiction telemarketing film that focuses on political ideals is exactly what the world needs right now.
With BlacKkKlansman and Blindspotting still on the way this year, it’s hard not to be excited about cinema’s new voice. It’s a voice that hasn’t been able to thrive since the Blacksploitation days of the 1970’s. African filmmakers are no longer using their “white voice.” Sorry To Bother You is a must see, and that Sundance hype is highly justified. I suggest taking the whole family down to that Cineplex and get ready for a lot of crazy, political fun. There is much we need to learn from this film so we don’t end up in the borderline Fascist state the film portrays.
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