By, CAMERON BOLTON
Sorry to Bother You was a really well-done film from earlier in the year, though if you actually work as a telemarketer somewhere like, say Drake Phonathon, then you’re probably not going to want to see this movie. Unless of course, you want to sit through a film that’s all about how you’re an agent of the evil and all-powerful force that is capitalism. Lakeith Stanfield, whom you may recall from his brief but pivotal role in Get Out, plays Cassius Green, a man whose name tells exactly what his fatal flaw is. He’s also someone who doesn’t think it’s weird to bring an employee of the month plaque and a high school trophy to a telemarketing job interview. Which he does get, unsurprisingly, because otherwise, there would be no plot.
One day, while working alongside his fellow wage slaves (Jermaine Fowler and Steve Yeun) he is advised to use his “white voice” by an older employee (Danny Glover). And when he says “white voice,” he doesn’t mean just talk more nasally, he means to have this laid back, “I don’t need the money from this job,” “I’ve never been fired, just laid off” voice. What white people think that they should sound like. So, Cassius does start doing this, with the assistance of David Cross dubbing over Stanfield’s lines. Pretty soon, he’s able to move up the corporate ladder and deal with all the problems that come with that.
Other characters in the film are Detroit (Tessa Thompson), Cassius’ girlfriend who some have criticized for being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, which I don’t agree with. The purpose of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is to get the buttoned-up protagonist to finally loosen up. Detroit doesn’t do that. She’s a little quirky, yes, but she also clearly has a life and goals that don’t just revolve around Cassius. He also doesn’t change his ways because of her actions alone.
There’s also Steve Lift (Armie Hammer) who runs a company called WorryFree where the workers sign lifetime contracts where they can’t leave the factory. His very first scene is him explaining in an interview how this isn’t essentially slavery with reasons that are less than comforting.
The film that Sorry to Bother You kind of reminds me of is The Big Short, the Oscar winner from a few years back about the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Both films are funny and sad at the exact same time. Essentially, if you were to look up the definition of “it’s funny because it’s true” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of both films.
This movie starts off really strong, but lost me a little during the second act, where it goes through the age-old “main character screws over his friends and loved ones to get ahead” thing. Especially since Cassius does it in a manner that seems unnecessarily rude. Though the film did manage to regain my attention during the final act, which gave me my first genuine and non-sarcastic “I didn’t see that one coming” in a long time.
GRAPHICS BY HANNAH COHEN