Going into a movie without knowing much of anything about it aside from hearing some positive buzz or getting intrigued by the poster, and then being blown away by just how great it is, that’s one of the best feelings one can get at the movies. If you like those kinds of experiences, you should check out SORRY TO BOTHER YOU without reading any further. Not that I’m going to give any spoilers, but I don’t want to do anything that’s going to perhaps deprive anyone of that experience.
I don’t want to over-hype anyone to the point where SORRY TO BOTHER YOU won’t live up to their expectations, but what Boots Riley did as a first-time writing and directing a feature film was fantastic. This film makes an exceptional argument for Hollywood needing new voices. It’s not surprising at all that some very talented folks got involved with the project.
In the lead role as Cassius Green, Lakeith Stanfield continues to add to his already impressive resume. What started in the under-appreciated SHORT TERM 12 and continued in the likes of SELMA, DOPE, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, MILES AHEAD, GET OUT and Donald Glover’s ATLANTA is a growing trend of very strong performances by an actor who is certainly making a case that he can carry a film.
That’s not to say he didn’t have help here, because SORRY TO BOTHER YOU has a few other names you’re likely to know.
Like Stanfield, the performances by Tessa Thompson the past few years has resulted in her being one of my favorites as well, with her role here as Cassius’s girlfriend Detroit adding yet another example of how enjoyable she is on screen. I don’t know if it’s simply that she has made great choices, gotten lucky in who has been cast as her co-stars, or whether it’s just her sheer amount of charisma, but she seemingly has great chemistry with whomever she shares a scene with, whether it’s here, in the third THOR film, the Rocky spin-off CREED, or elsewhere.
In smaller roles, having Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Armie Hammer and Steven Yeun as part of the cast just seemed to add to the feeling that this was a movie that the people involved believed in, that they likely knew was a special project from the moment they heard about it. Each had memorable moments and felt pivotal to the storyline in roles I wouldn’t even begin to think about potential alternate casting.
Not to give too much away, but the “performances” of David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Forest Whitaker and Lily James were all really strong as well, which speaks not only to the work they put into it, but also to the vision and creativity of Boots Riley.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Kate Berlant, whose performance was hilarious without going into the absurd or unbelievable / cartoonish area, which this type of role very easily could have done.
The only criticism I have of this film is that there’s an aspect to the third act that goes a bit too far into the realm of the absurd, but not too far to do any harm to an otherwise biting look at capitalism. I wouldn’t recommend this film to everyone, but I’m guessing it’ll do really well once it hits wide release and word spreads about just how great it is. There are quite a few names involved in this project whose careers I’m going to be watching more closely!
My rating: 90 out of 100