Movie Review: Sorry to Bother You

By Ceara Kelly, Staff Writer
[Annapurna; 2018]
Rating: 6.5/10
Photo by: ‘Sorry To Bother You’/IMDb

Sometimes you just leave a theater not sure how to feel about a movie. Maybe it was good. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it changed genres so fast you got whiplash and your head is still spinning. Sorry to Bother You is definitely the latter.

Read more: Movie Review: Thoroughbreds

However, the whiplash was very much needed. The first thirty minutes of the movie are great. They’re funny, well shot, and the plot is interesting, but then it just drags. The entire middle of the film just felt like it was endlessly climbing to the climax and that the payoff was never coming. It did, though. Oh boy, did it ever.

Unfortunately, the fast-paced and interesting change lasted for only the last thirty minutes of a nearly two-hour movie. It ended up being the prime example of a solid idea with poor execution. The poor execution went on to make it feel like director Boots Riley just couldn’t come up with an end,  so then rushed into by far the most bizarre ending to a political commentary ever. Having your debut film hinge on the shock value isn’t good. In fact, it almost took away from the message.

The film follows Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield), a newly hired telemarketer, as he works his way to the top. As he does, his friends at the bottom try to form a union to be paid enough to actually eat. For the first hour and a half, the plot is nothing more than the moral struggle between Green making it in the world while abandoning his friends, or sticking with them but losing all he worked for. There’s also Armie Hammer playing basically a coked-up Jeff Bezos who is the CEO for a controversial, inhumane company called WorryFree.

All of that leads to a rock-solid commentary on the current economic status of our country that is then completely forgotten when the big twist comes in. Although it was connected to the allegory, you don’t leave the theater thinking, “Oh, wow, capitalism is dehumanizing and leading to modern-day slavery,” like you’re supposed to. Instead, you leave wondering whether you were hallucinating or if the other people in the theater saw all that, too.

Don’t misunderstand this review, though. Sorry to Bother You is a fun movie to see. It is hilariously written; Boots Riley is an amazing director; the characters are compelling; the costumes for Tessa Thompson’s character are great, and the production value is phenomenal. In the second half of the movie, there’s a large number of practical effects that are perfectly disturbing and garner the wanted sense of horror. The story just fell flat for over half the film, which is a shame.

Sorry to Bother You was an ambitious film covering an incredibly relevant topic, but it just doesn’t captivate the audience. It will eventually get your attention back, but you will have to sit through the man from Ratatouille voicing the secondary antagonist and discussing Green’s sex life. Who knows, maybe that’s your cup of tea. If it is, this is the movie for you.

Watch the trailer here:

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