Sorry to Bother You

Inventive visual flights of fancy combine with a righteous anger at systemic injustice in Boots Riley's brilliant, absurdist satire Sorry to Bother You

Film Review by Christopher Machell | 06 Dec 2018
  • Sorry to Bother You
Film title: Sorry to Bother You
Director: Boots Riley
Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Armie Hammer, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun
Release date: 7 Dec
Certificate: 15

Down and out Oaklander Cassius Green (Stanfield) is living in his uncle's garage; he's behind on his rent, out of work and out of luck. When he blags a job at a call centre, he's hopeful that his fortunes are on the turn, but in debut director Boots Riley's brilliant, absurdist satire, Cassius has yet to learn just how far the odds are stacked against him.

Riley's sense of the absurd is top notch here, equal parts Luis Buñuel, Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry (the latter being cheekily lampooned in one of the film's numerous inventive visual flights of fancy). But as well as those visual gags, Riley's film is shot through with a righteous anger at systemic injustice. Satire weaves its way through the history of cinema, and classics like Metropolis, Network and The Stepford Wives are all echoed in Sorry to Bother You. Riley builds on the history of satirical cinema to tell a sharply contemporary fable that critiques the related inequities of race, class and unionised labour.


Released by Universal