Sorry to Bother You review: Boots Riley's provocative and ambitious satire about corporate greed is unforgettable

 
James Luxford
Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson

Musician Boots Riley bursts onto the film scene with this hilarious and horrifying satire of American consumerism.


Lakeith Stanfield is superb as Cassius, who takes a job as a telemarketer and finds success by using a ‘white voice’ (David Cross) to put customers at ease.

What follows is a surreal, captivating journey into the heart of corporate darkness, as Cassius chooses between his activist girlfriend (the remarkable Tessa Thompson) and life as a ‘power caller’, representing a company that deals in slave labour.

A cross between Spike Lee and Michel Gondry (who is referenced), it’s a scathing attack on greed in big business, as well as apathy in mainstream society.


The final act flies head-first into the bizarre, with both twists and imagery that will be too much for some viewers to stomach. It’s part and parcel of the type of director Riley looks to be – witty and thought-provoking, but also provocative in a way that occasionally feels invasive.

It’s arguable that the messages behind the film require a startling delivery, but whether you love or loathe this ambitious debut, you certainly won’t forget it in a hurry.

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