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Sorry to Bother You


Outrageous is an overused word when it comes to movies, but it's probably the best single word review of Boots Riley's hilarious & fascinating SORRY TO BOTHER YOU.

Wholly original from any perspective, we meet telemarketer Cassius Green (the fantastic LaKeith Stanfield from "Get Out").

Living in an alternate universe version of Oakland, Cassius discovers he has true gifts as a salesman, quickly propelling him from his garage apartment (complete with opening garage door at the worst moments)to the world of the ultra rich.

Stanfield is incredible likable and funny in the role, clearly enjoying the fruits of his labors while battling the realization that he's becoming everything he used to stand against. Not to mention his magic secret to sales is a complete sellout, but damn is he good at it.

Tessa Thompson (Annihilation) is his girlfriend Detroit, Danny Glover is the oldest salesman on the team and David Cross dubs in Cassius' "white voice" that he uses on his sales calls to close like a madman.

In Riley's debut as writer and director, he splashes every frame with adult humor, big laughs and some serious underlying currents dealing with racism, capitalism and identity politics.

Just when you think you have it figured out, Cassius is invited to meet the owner of his massive employer, Steve Lift.

Lift is played by Armie Hammer (The Social Network, Call Me By Your Name) and drops into the film with a giant stash of sheer madness. The deeper Cassius dives into the real mission of his employer, the more off the rails the film goes, until we're plunged into some wildly sexual mashup of "The Island of Dr. Moreau" and "Norma Rae".

I loved every minute of its quirky, crazy madness. Every imaginative visual lands with a smart subtext that sticks with you.

There are moments that make you so uncomfortable with characters casual displays of racism that they literally make you squirm.

The ending is a bit maddening, but it feels intentional from Riley, just one more middle finger to anyone trying to jam his smart debut into one genre or a comfortable summary.

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU is outrageous. It's also disruptive and challenging in all the right ways. If you don't want to be challenged, shocked and made uncomfortable, watch something easier.

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU sticks with you. I'm still thinking about it and shaking my head months later.

I love well delivered, radical filmmaking. Boots Riley was in my face for 111 minutes and I loved it and laughed a lot, but I suspect many would not.

For me, its an auspicious debut that gets an A.

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