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Lakeith Stanfield in a darkly funny, revolutionary satire



Sorry to Bother You do not have a wide release but it's worth looking out because this is a little movie with a mighty punch.

Starring hot new starsGet Out. Atlanta. Girl in the Spider's Web) and Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok. Creed II), this surreal and very funny satire generated a lot of buzz around its US release.

But its director, Boots Riley, came to a halt at distributors who did not want to expand their release internationally because of the old misnomer that "black movies do not travel well". So we should be glad that we're getting it at all. And it's not just a "black movie" – it's a concept that has universal appeal.

Sorry to Bother You has bold ideas, strong performances and a wicked, dark sense of humor that is comparable to Mike Judge's Office Space and Idiocracy, it only takes a leap or two further in its commentary. Terry Gilliam's Brazil is probably closer as a spiritual buddy.

In an alternate present-day version of our reality, Cassius Green (Stanfield) is a young guy living in Oakland – on the east side of the San Francisco Bay.

His car smokes every time he turns the ignition. He lives in his uncle's garage, where the door has a habit of opening onto the mid-coitus street. He's four months behind on rent and, in this economy, his uncle is on the verge of having the house repossessed by the bank anyway.

The only job he can get is working as a telemarketer at a company called RegalView, where all of its downtrodden staff are poorly paid, if at all.

Cassius struggles to sell anything to people on the other end of the phone, having to blindly follow the script that requires him to try and offload "wellness" books on a widow who just said her husband died of cancer and she has no money.

"Stick to the script" is the mantra of RegalView and it's the movie's way of skewering how an oppressive class keeps everyone apathetic.

When Cassius 'colleague Langston (Danny Glover) tells him that he will have a better success rate if Cassius puts his "white voice" (voiced by David Cross) because people are more likely to buy from someone who sounds like they don' t have to care, he finds himself doing well. Really well.

All the while, RegalView dangles the promise of "Power Caller" status – where you get to ride in a gold elevator plus untold riches – at the poor schmucks in the call center, as motivation to keep them working and unquestioning.

Is it any wonder that ads for a business called WorryFree are running everywhere?

WorryFree and its CEO Steve Lift (Armie Hammer) purports to offer you a life free of bills and responsibility, where they will guarantee you a lifelong employment contract in return for lodging in a room with a dozen bunk beds and food.

In other words, it's modern day slavery.

Sorry to Bother You'S strident, anti – capitalism message is taking more than a leaf out of George Orwell' s book, and the parallel between Animal Farm'S poor Boxer and the workhorses of WorryFree start to form a grotesque similarity in the final act.

Sorry to Bother You is such a smart film and it manages to squeeze into its one-hour-50-minute runtime thoughtful, unapologetic and frightening ideas about racism, exploitation of labor, class oppression, unionism and activism without feeling overstuffed.

Its conceit that capitalism is not racial is bordering on revolutionary, if not for the fact that this movie was still made and distributed by the Hollywood machine.

While it does not tie everything together seamlessly, maybe its ambition was too grand, it is still really entertaining – its brashness and unpredictability will keep you hooked.

While it is set in an alternative version of our world, it cleverly keeps it familiar enough that it's chillingly similar to the real-world power structures in 2018.

Sorry to Bother You is a wake-up call to the uncomfortable truth that the world we already live in may be the real dystopia.

Ranking: ★★★★

Sorry to Bother You are in cinemas now.

Share your movies and TV obsessions: @wenleima


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