Had a couple of days now to digest ‘Sorry to Bother You’. I still have questions, but maybe that was part of the point when it keeps going deeper into the surreal? For now, let me touch on the things I liked:
There’s a line early on where the main character is told ‘You’re black, but you’re like, Will Smith black.’ It’s a funny line but it also speaks to one of the main things I like about the film in general: it continues to open up the paradigm of what black filmmakers show to the masses (as usual, black musicians have been a little more free to work ‘outside the box’ for a little bit longer). And of course, that’s not meant as disrespect to anyone who’s come before, past or present. But in terms of genre, ALL genres, there’s still so much untapped material. The more voices that get to be heard, the more fully ‘the experience’ is represented.
The actors: LaKeith, no actor immediately comes to mind for me to compare him to, which still feels like the best compliment to the arc of his career. There’s a lot of projects he will never be considered for the Lead role, so great call to find the right project where he does get to be number one on the call sheet (and carries the movie well).
Conversely, Armie Hammer, based on everything I’ve heard or read, seems like one of the genuine good guys. So it adds a layer of coolness that he’s played into his real life biography of entitlement (real or not) to play these privileged aholes. (Not to mention it’s not hard to imagine a line of name actors around the block who said no to working on the debut films of Nate Parker and Boots Riley).
And then there’s Tessa. Off the top of my head over the past couple of years: ‘Westworld,’ ‘Creed’, ‘Thor’… she’s firmly in the Game now. If you go back to the ‘Dear White People’ and ‘Mississippi Damned’ days though, you knew of her way before the franchises were possible. I wasn’t surprised Tessa could play a different type of character as much as I caught myself thinking, ‘Yeah, I guess if you want to work your craft on something like this, you have to step outside the system.’ So, more kudos.
Yes, I’ve deliberately avoided talking about the story in depth, because…you really have to see it. I think it’s worth seeing.