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“Sorry To Bother You” – Boots Riley, Lakeith Stanfield, and Tessa Thompson: Hollywood Film Tribute

Today we are recognizing Sorry To Bother You, as well as writer/director Boots Riley, plus co-stars Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson. Our Hollywood Film Tributes recognize films and talent for their excellence in the art of filmmaking.

Not only is this the most original work of 2018, it’s arguably one of the most original cinematic works we’ve ever seen. Like a bolt of creative lightning, Boots Riley has announced himself with Sorry To Bother You as a one of a kind talent. The fact that his vision hasn’t been more fully received by voters this year is a real tragedy. As such, we’re correcting that today with this tribute to Riley and his actors, not just Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson, but Armie Hammer and Steven Yeun too. Everyone combines to do stupendous work in a film that will stand the test of time…

From our absolute rave review that we posted back in July:

There’s a sea change of originality to be found within Sorry to Bother You, the best film of the year so far. Not only is it the class of 2018 so far, it’s arguably one of the very best movies of the last five years. The past half decade has had some real great works, and this stands tall alongside them. Boots Riley makes a debut here that is one for the ages. This weekend, when Sorry to Bother You begins its theatrical run, a magical experience is hitting cinemas. It may turn some people off, but if you’re anything like me, it’s going to blow you away.

Describing this movie is almost impossible, and that’s part of its charm. The plot synopsis is perfectly vague on IMDb, as it simply states: “In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe.” Cassius (Lakeith Stanfield) just wants to find a job, so when he ends up as a telemarketer, the doors that open are hardly what he expects. The less said about this the better, but trust me when I say it’s absolutely insane, a hearty mix of comedy, drama, and satire. Riley writes and directs, while opposite Stanfield, the cast includes Kate Berlant, Terry Crews, Jermaine Fowler, Danny Glover, Armie Hammer, Omari Hardwick, Robert Longstret, Michael X. Sommers, Tessa Thompson, Forest Whitaker, and Steven Yeun. Plus, the voices of David Cross, Rosario Dawson, Lily James, and Patton Oswalt pop up as well. Doug Emmett provides the cinematography, while the score comes from The Coup, Merrill Garbus, Tune-Yards, and Riley himself.

The film is just perfect. The first third is hilarious and satirical, while the middle portion adds in some extra social commentary and mystery. Then, the final act is just bug nuts insane, in the best way possible. Essentially, the first half belongs to Stanfield and Thompsons (both of whom are phenomenal), while the second half also brings Hammer into the equation. That supporting turn by Hammer is among the most amusing things this year. Once you understand where it’s all going, you’ll be stunned. I mean that as a compliment too. You’ve never seen anything like this flick, I promise you that.

Photos Courtesy Annapurna Pictures

Hollywood Film Tributes recognizing films and talent for their excellence in the art of filmmaking.
Editors: Carlos de Abreu and Joey Magidson [Tomatometer-approved critic]
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CRITERIA: HOLLYWOOD FILM TRIBUTES are based on multiple elements that are taken into consideration including award events and consultations with industry insiders (agents, managers, journalists, awards strategists, filmmakers, awards voters, producers, studio execs).

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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