Sorry to Bother You – Movie Review


Rating: A


  • This film features multiple solid performances. Lakeith Stanfield continues to show he is a force to be reckoned with. Stanfield brings a subdue laid back comedic feel that slowly turns into a crumbling lost down a rabbit hole feel, which is a treat throughout to watch. While Tessa Thompson and Armie Hammer both take complete turns from previous work and both are cast perfectly. Thompson continues to bring her charm and nuance to her performance, while Hammer brings the white-collar insane CEO “Steve Lift” to life like only Armie Hammer can. I also can’t go with mentioning the great voice performances from David Cross and Patton Oswalt as the “white voices”.
  • Boots Riley really breaks on to the scene here with a completely original vision. Riley brings a Spike Lee meets Charlie Kaufman aesthetic to this film and makes me question why I never wanted that before. Riley’s striking surrealist visuals bring so much to this twisted version of Oakland, in much vein as Alex Cox did to Los Angeles with his 1984 sci-fi classic “Repo Man”. The visuals are some of the most unforgettable I’ve seen all year. One in particular being our lead character (Lakeith Stanfield) literally dropping into peoples homes, as he is a telemarketer and every time he makes a call, he and his entire desk fall right into the peoples homes. Which gives the film’s title a whole other meaning.
  • Riley’s screenplay is rich with ideas and thankfully they are more than just ideas. Riley’s sociopolitical sensibility’s are all over this film, in both the foreground and background. By that I mean, while the visuals can pack a punch, many times the passing road advertisements or a character’s name have just as much to say as well. While rich with ideas Riley’s screenplay is rich with themes as well. The standout for me being the exploitation of the black workforce by white capitalism, which does way more than pack a punch.
  • The production design here is immaculate. The production design really stretches it’s wings during a transition as we see Stanfield’s character’s living space slowly gets more and more fancier, as we see lamps split in half and out rises the nicer more fancy lamp and so forth with the entire room. That display of production design is something I frankly don’t think I’ve ever seen before.
  • The cinematography by Doug Emmett is quite strong. The way he and Boots Riley frame shots throughout this film bring a more and more twisted aesthetic and emotion that builds a lot in the third act. Emmett’s more solo shining moments come in a crazy house party, where Emmett lights long hallways and back rooms exquisitely.


  • There is a small subplot involving a love triangle that is pretty cuttable.

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