By Julia Wilson and Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood
Eccentric and oddly mesmerizing—the only words to describe perhaps the most unique take on race and labor that we’ve seen in film so far.
Sorry To Bother You stars Get Out’s LaKeith Stanfield as Cassius Green and Call Me By Your Name’s Armie Hammer as Steve Lift. Green, unemployed and struggling to find a purpose, acquires a job as a telemarketer for Regalview with the full intention of becoming a prestigious “power caller”. This is a group of people who use their clients’ dark requests to make millions of dollars.
He succeeds in doing this by using his new-found “white voice”, which involves sounding like you don’t have a care in the world. This leads him to Steve Lift, the CEO of a company called WorryFree, who offers him an… interesting position. WorryFree is criticized for its use of life-time contracts and living conditions that are consistently compared to slavery.
To get a look into the odd ways that WorryFree dives into slave labor, they use something not quite… human. But for that, you’ll have to watch it for yourself.
One aspect that we were really intrigued about was its use of activism. Whether it be about race, labor, or livable wages this film covers it all through protests and subtle acts of violence.
Through these protests we get our first look at the masterful cinematography in this film. Color plays a big role in this by the use of lighter colors to express wealth, vibrant colors to represent some level of authority, and dull colors to show the opposite.
The balance of authority and wealth varies with each character. Lift, being the CEO of WorryFree, had both authority and wealth. On the other hand, Green’s girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) maintains authority with her friends and boyfriend, yet cannot acquire the same wealth as Lift.
This concept is furthered using race. Although not at the forefront, race definitely guides the story. This is evident in the aforementioned “white voice” that several black employees must use to have hopes of moving up. Green is even forbidden from using his normal voice when he reaches the top.
Acting wise, there were no poor performances, but also none that outshined the others. However, if we had to pick, Stanfield and Hammer seemed to develop their characters the most powerfully. Thompson’s character didn’t begin to stand out until her art show in which she repetitively read a single line from The Last Dragon in unique and terrifying ways.
Sorry To Bother You truly captures race, labor, authority, wealth, and activism in a light we have not yet seen in cinema.
Our Rating: 90%