Sorry to Bother You

Sorry to Bother You ★★★

Idiosyncratic to put it mildly, seemingly existing in a heightened reality where it pushes its satirical concepts into wildly bizarre territory. I strongly agree with a lot of what this has to say about the disease that is late-stage capitalism, particularly how it is deliberately designed to turn workers into wage slaves as they either do exactly what the company says or risk losing everything and how the fundamental structure of the system makes it virtually impossible to combat unless every single person comes together. Many of the ideas here are well articulated such as when Steven Yeun's character talks about how if people feel like they can't solve a problem then they simply accept it; I even like how it demonstrates the sheer hypocrisy of those selling their activism for a profit and the way unrestricted labour leads to dehumanisation (to quite a literal degree too).

The downside is that the film definitely suffers from trying to tackle too many issues, to the point where some of the views on racial inequality and wealth excess can have all the subtlety of a tornado which lessens their impact. I do think the excellent casting is able to counter the relatively indistinct characterisations with Lakeith Stanfield really convincing in the lead role, although having Armie 'I'll cause you mental pain then eat your brain' Hammer involved when he comes from generational wealth feels unfitting considering he represents a lot of what the subject matter seems to be against. I also think you can really tell that this is Boots Riley's directorial debut since the editing is overly rudimentary and the pacing is inconsistent, with the third act feeling especially rushed almost like the narrative is just trying to tie up any loose ends as quickly as possible.

With that said, I do admire the clear passion for the underlying message and how weird this is willing to go to deliver it. I just personally believe that the lack of concentration and ill-conceived conclusion hold it back, but the cult appeal that it has doesn't surprise me.

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