Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Sorry To Bother You does everything great science fiction should

Illustration for article titled iSorry To Bother You/i does everything great science fiction should
Photo: Annapurna Pictures

You’ve probably heard this from a bunch of people already, but it’s pertinent enough that I don’t really care about being repetitive: Go see Sorry To Bother You. Depending on when you’re reading this, you might still be able to catch it in theaters, but really, any way you can get it is good. Director Boots Riley has crafted one of the best science fiction films in years, and any fans of the genre’s potential for cutting, gut-punching satire owe it to themselves to check it out. Not that “surreal sci-fi dystopia” is how the film initially presents, but luckily, its starter premise—which sees a Danny Glover-advised Lakeith Stanfield take on a “white voice” (David Cross) to turn himself into a telemarketing superstar—is just as funny and important as the hallucinatory strangeness it eventually evolves into.


Even before we start getting hints about the world of legalized slavery that underpins the film’s universe, Riley has launched a barrage of jokes, ranging from cartoonishly silly to the sort of deadly-dry farce you might get out of a Yorgos Lanthimos flick. Even as the film’s comedic tone wanders widely, Riley keeps an iron grip on its ideological tiller, creating a series of scenes in which racism and classism collide to remind you that the people in power are not, and never will be, your friend. The wit underpinning that structure never relents—even when your hopeful heart might want it to—creating a film that does all the shit that great science fiction is supposed to do: flip a middle finger to escapism, and craft a world that serves as a dark, motivatingly awful mirror for our own.

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