Sorry to Bother You: Delicious Dystopian Absurdity
Review by Aaron Haughton
Writer/director (and vocalist of The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club) has exploded onto the film scene with Sorry to Bother You, an absurdist dark comedy fable with aspects of magical realism and science-fiction. Filled with a great cast and an ambitious script, it's easily one of the most intelligent, inventive and batshit-crazy fun films you'll see this summer.
I knew as soon as I saw the trailer that Sorry to Bother You was going to be a special film, and I'm pleased to find that my gut instincts were validated. Without a doubt, it's one of the best films to drop so far this year, and it makes for one raucously enjoyable theater experience, one that will likely be unparalleled the rest of the year.
Boots Riley has crafted something cunning and punk rock that starts off running and never loses its steam or gusto. The title derives from a common line used within the telemarketing world, but also reflects this air of contradiction; a telemarketer says, "sorry to bother you," but in actuality they're not sorry at all. That's the main goal of the film: to highlight and explore the contradictions embedded within our society through the lens of this over-exaggerated (yet all too real at times) alternate reality. And it does this with spellbinding force and masterful effect.
The film begins very much in the world of the absurd, and it never ceases to amaze as it continues to up the ante, eventually ratcheting into all out insanity. Narratively, it borrows some elements from Charlie Kaufman's body of work and derives some visual cues from Michel Gondry (who they lovely rib in the film) — there's also a tinge of Idiocracy in there as well, mainly in the television program called "I Got The Shit Kicked Out Of Me" — but, just like Get Out, what it has to say about race, society and power/greed is wholly original and a pure delight to watch unfold.
Its humor is weaponized and side-splitting good — I don't think I've laughed this hard, this continuously all year — and it just keeps getting funnier as the film dives more and more into ridiculousness. The cast is phenomenal and every single performance fires on all cylinders, especially LaKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson who brilliantly shine. Plus, Armie Hammer doing massive lines of blow (I mean, c'mon!).
To say more would be a disservice to the film's powerful effect and satirically pointed blows. Don't think about skipping out on this one. Go see it in the biggest theater with the largest crowd. The film releases in limited cities this Friday, July 6th, before releasing nationwide on July 13th.
Rating: 4.5 white voices outta 5.
What did you think? Did the absurdist elements and social commentary work for you? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always remember to viddy well!