“Sorry to Bother You” Isn’t a Bother

Sorry to Bother You is a Boots Riley satire on capitalism, slavery and why black folks need to speak in white voices in order to be heard. Like all great satires it stretches logic to absurdity, and two steps beyond, into quasi science fiction territory.

Capitalism, in Riley’s view, keeps blacks down by denying their authentic voice. It is only by adopting a white voice that they can succeed and be seen as equals. The irony here is that creates a constant cycle of exploiters exploiting the exploited.

The black hero’s (Lakeith Stansfield) journey from lowly telemarketer, to super caller, to unwitting dupe for a super corporation grown rich on peddling a new form of indentured servitude, to revolutionary inciting a slave revolt, echoes American history and the ills of capitalism itself.

It is all maniacally funny, absurd and genuine at the same time. The lurch into craziness in the last third of the movie even seems appropriate. It kept me amused and awed.

Sorry to Bother You is as original, brilliant and wonderfully human as anything that has come along this year.

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