This movie is fucking weird. Seriously, this is the type of movie that really doesn’t fit easily into a category and that’s a good thing. The 2018, I guess we’ll go with, comedy directed by Boots Riley, who really only did soundtracks before this, is an insane film. Actually that makes a lot of sense because the soundtrack for this movie is really cool. In fact this entire movie is really cool.
I went into Sorry To Bother You knowing basically nothing, and so I will try my hardest not to spoil any of the plot. All you see from the trailers is Cassius Green, played by Lakeith Lee Stanfield, being a down-on-his-luck telemarketer. In order to make more sales he finds out that using your “white voice” helps with sales. The white voice is spoken by David Cross. That is all the plot I will tell you, and trust me when I say that almost has nothing to do with the movie. The run time on this thing is 1hr and 45min, with the entire time feeling like a wild ride.
Modern movies are not made like this. The visuals alone are an experience I’ve only seen before in an OK-GO music video. There are scenes where a tube television set opens in half and a flat screen forms out of it. Or another shot of lamps folding out of lamps. Every effect is practical too, or at least looks it. The art is amazing, this also is represented by one of the characters being a literal artist, but we’ll get to her later. There are several scenes where the main character is literally dropped into other people’s lives, representing how a person feels when making a phone call to a stranger. Also throughout the film is a picture of the Cassius’s father that always changes to indicate how he would feel about the plot. I just wanted to take a second before I get into the depth of this movie to say it is stunning and beautiful. Combine the artistic view with the amazing writing, and this movie will have you smiling most of the way.
This movie is hilarious. The writing works so well with these characters. Almost every call made with the white voice had me laughing. And it wasn’t just the lines delivered. So much of the humor was situational, or long shots that lead to a punch line that was just off-screen. About halfway through however I started to feel bad for my laughs. Or I think a better way to put it is that halfway through the movie, the character was connecting with me. I’m not sure how many people reading this have had shitty jobs, I’m going to assume all of you. I’ve had my share as well. And this movie feels real. I was laughing at Terry Crews being a funny angry landlord, but then you’ll get hit with him being a diabetic that doesn’t know how to pay his bills. There are fake commercials about a prison style job opportunity that are funny and then cuts to the news about how those workers are basically slaves. This film is actually a very serious metaphor for modern society wrapped in a hilarious comedic package.
Class warfare is one of the struggles highlighted in this film. The powerful rich, represented by Armie Hammer, uses the poor and struggling to make himself richer. The movie goes to extremes to represent it, however you get the feeling that the metaphor isn’t that far off from the truth. Now I’m not going to say this movie is anti-capitalist by any means. I think what this movie does so well, is be honest. The main character sees that just going along with the status-quo and caring about your fellow-man doesn’t actually help you. Steven Yuen plays a character that is counter to Armie Hammer. He works very hard to help his fellow co-workers. But in the end he gets nothing. Maybe he earns a momentary night of individual success but its is highlighted that when you only care about helping others, your reward is other people’s happiness and not your own. Cassius works very hard and is rewarded for it, and when his friends confront him, he points out that refusing a promotion wont help him from losing his home or helping his family. It is a struggle we all go through.
The wallet versus the soul is another theme throughout the entire movie. The more you sell, the more you make, but at what expense. Cassius keeps rising and rising through the ranks at his job and in the process has to decide what he is morally okay with. You can see it in Lakeith’s acting the toll it takes on a man. At one point the character, who is black, gives a room full of white people an excuse to use the N word, and in the next scene he feels like shit for it. You feel for him as he struggle with his choices. And he forms scars, both literal and emotional. The climax of the movie is insane, unless someone ruins the movie, there is no fucking way in hell you will see where this it goes. Our choices and the roads we take stay with us. It way be sad but it is the truth, and sometimes when you see the error of your ways it may be too late, no matter how much you do to fix the wrongs. I believe the message at the end of the movie is to have balance. If you only care about money, you lose your soul. If you only care about morality and fixing wrongs, you put yourself in situations to become a slave. You don’t need a sports car, but you do not deserve a clunker that your friends need to help push to the bar. As long as you find balance, you can live a happy life with moderate things and still get the girl in the end.
The one thing I didn’t like about the movie was the girl. Tessa Thompson is an amazing actress. I think she played her character the best way she could. But she served no purpose. If anything she actually took away some of the meaning to the plot. Her character is an artist who flips signs for a job. She is a hypocrite throughout the entire movie. Saying she hates that her boyfriend Cassius uses the white voice, then later uses it herself to sell her art. She complains about him living in a garage, but then also complains about him making money while sleeping in his new bed. Cassius makes the decisions to work hard or to benefit his own soul for himself, however at one point says it was just for her approval. Perhaps that was an intended version of the character, and I’m only upset because of the choices she makes in the movie. But in my opinion her character does not have to deal with any scars, she learns no lessons, and gets everything she wants in the end with no sacrifices. I think they could have put more work in her individual development as a character.
Sorry to bother you with this review. My name is Troy Smith and I would very much like to suggest an experience I guarantee you have not had in quite some time. I offer a movie that will not just make you laugh and smile, but make you think about the world around you, the people in it, and what it truly means to be happy. Absolutely no gauntlets Snapped in the theaters of this film (white voice chuckle). And I highly recommend it to all horse lovers.
Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith