“Sorry to Bother You,” the directorial debut from California rapper Boots Riley, has won over film critics with its surreal, inventive humour and sharp social commentary.
Starring Lakeith Stanfield (FX’s “Atlanta”) and Tessa Thompson (“Thor: Ragnarok”), Riley’s film follows the wild plight of Stanfield’s Cassius Green, a black telemarketer in Oakland, California, who achieves immense success at his job only after a colleague instructs him to change his accent to that of a white man.
“Sorry to Bother You” also stars Terry Crews, Danny Glover, and Armie Hammer, and it features voiceover work from comedians Patton Oswalt and David Cross.
The film has a 96% “fresh” rating on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Several critics have placed Riley’s movie, which he wrote and directed, in a lineage of great absurdist films from auteurs like Charlie Kaufman, Jordan Peele, and Spike Jonze.
“Sorry to Bother You” opens Friday in select theatres and nationwide on July 27.
Here are a few noteworthy reviews of the film:
“Rapper Boots Riley scores a knockout directing debut with this no-mercy satire, starring a breakout Lakeith Stanfield, that gets all up in your face about race and the media. Summer has found its real fireworks right here.”
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Riley has clearly held nothing back and after 25+ years of using his voice and unique point of view in the world of hip-hop, this is as audacious an entry into the world of feature filmmaking as one could possibly make.”
Lindsay Bahr, Associated Press
“It works fine as an outrageous comedy, but the perceptive commentary will likely give it staying power. This is the fearless satire that America desperately needs right now.”
J.R. Kinnard, Seattle Times
“If Mike Judge’s ‘Office Space’ and Robert Downey Sr.’s ‘Putney Swope’ hooked up after a night of bingeing on hallucinogens, Marxist theory and the novels of Paul Beatty and Colson Whitehead, the offspring might look something like this.”
A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“Riley dramatizes outrageously complex machinations of predatory greed and depraved misrule and offers a passionate, joyous vision of resistance.”
Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“If you dig the handmade surrealism of Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry or the antiestablishment weirdness of ‘Repo Man,’ then this one is undoubtedly for you.”
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
“Both Riley and ‘Get Out”s Jordan Peele have recreated our world but cracked through with a surreal seam that makes its hidden evils unmissable.”
Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic
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