Boots Riley's quirky film, Sorry To Bother You, arrives on blu-ray this week, bringing it's captivating mix of comedy and science fiction into your home. You'll definitely want to pick this one up. Come inside for our full review!
Like MANY of the films released this year, I totally missed out on Sorry To Bother You when it initially released. I'd heard nothing but good things (just check out Rob's review here on the site) and was eager to see what was in store for me when the blu-ray arrived. I had no idea what to expect, but what I saw went way beyond anything I had imagined and I'm so glad for it.
On the surface, the plot of the film seems fairly basic. In an alternate reality version of Oakland, Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is down on his luck, living out of his uncle's garage and looking for work. He begins working at a telemarketing company along with his friend but still struggles to make it work...Until he figures out a trick to success.
Soon, he's skyrocketing upwards, making enough money to help his Uncle out and get a place of his own. As he enjoys having more money and notoriety than he ever dreamed, the moral cost of his success begins to come into focus. Even more so as his promotion sees him working directly for an evil company bent on (essentially) slave labor and far stranger experiments. As Cassius struggles to cope with the wrongs he sees and the part he's played in it, he must find a way to make things right between his friends and girlfriend.
There's SO MUCH more to this film than that, but getting into any of them delves into some spoiler territory. Frankly, this feels like a film that begs to be watched "fresh" and enjoy some of the genuine twists and turns that the story takes. Now, that doesn't mean it's a film that's only worth watching once; far from it. Instead, upon watching it a second time (should tell you how much I enjoyed it since I've only had it a week or so) there are a bunch of minor details I had missed. These not only added to the overall enjoyment of the film, but added to the themes and story being told.
Visually, the movie is fairly dense, with a lot of things going on in the backgrounds that are easy to miss the first (probably even second) time around. More so, the film plays around a lot with camera dynamics (depth of field, color highlights, etc) that give an added layer of storytelling to pay attention to on top of the action/dialog. It's very much a film that rewards multiple viewings, and even on the second watch, it remained just as hilarious as the first time.
The humor is so on point in this film, there were many moments I had to pause the film because I couldn't stop laughing. I, honestly, can't remember the last time a film had me laughing this hard and frequently. It comes about naturally as a result of the situations the characters find themselves in. It's not a comedy in the sense there are any gags specifically to elicit laughs, but they flow far more naturally, even when the story delves into the surreal.
Best of all, it manages to combine all of these elements into a story with serious, and timely, messages. The themes are heavy and Sorry To Bother You has a lot to say about the status quo, humanity, and race. It gets you thinking without beating you over the head with it, and the way the story unfolds means you'll be coming back for more.
Combine all of this with some excellent performances from the entire cast and you're presented with a truly unique film that hits all the right buttons. It's fun, engaging, hilarious, and you'll be thinking about it long after the credits roll. If you missed it during the theatrical run, don't pass up on the blu-ray release.
Sight and Sound
To be honest, I don't have a whole lot to say about the blu-ray's picture and sound quality. The image is crisp and clear without any crushing (that I noticed anyway) on the TV, and the sound is handled well with proper priority given to dialog and action sequences. Overall, it's solid from a technical standpoint without anything that necessarily stood out to me; good or bad. It does exactly what you want, and need it to do.
The Bonus Features
Sorry To Bother You comes with these special features loaded onto the disc:
Beautiful Clutter with Director Boots Riley
Commentary with Director Boots Riley
The Cast of Sorry to Bother You
The Art of the White Voice
I dove headfirst into these bonus features as soon as the film ended. It's such a different film that I was eager to see how any of it came together. The cast interviews are fun, and so is the look at the "Art of the White Voice." All in all, however, for a truly unique film, the bonus features are fairly standard. That's not to say they aren't worth checking out, but they felt almost boring compared to the craziness of the movie itself.