Since many film releases have been delayed until theaters are allowed to reopen, streaming platforms have grown even larger, and companies such as Disney are now weighing their options to determine if online releases of films would be more profitable. While Los Angeles theaters are still closed, this column will turn to look for great artistic finds on streaming services.
The first film goes to Hulu’s Sorry to Bother You, a visionary independent film that takes the viewer on an incredible journey, while making controversial topics lighthearted, such as the modern workplace environment. Lakeith Stanfield delivers, arguably, his greatest performance to date as “Cash” Green, and Tessa Thompson does a phenomenal job–as always–driving home the emotional conflict of the story. Jermaine Fowler delivers comedic punches along the way that take the plot to a new level, balancing serious subject matters with enjoyable humor. The acting amplifies the insanely imaginary, satiric world created by director Boots Riley.
The story follows Green as he goes from a broke telemarketer who learns how to use his “white voice” to rise up the ranks and turn “power caller.” The broad satire never stops giving as every scene is packed with subtle notes as well as general social claims. It’s not an accident that “power caller” abbreviated is “PC.” It’s a genuine story that is strikingly original. The world that Riley has created is impressive, but when portrayed by the great cast of characters driven by an epic conflict, it is elevated to a masterpiece.
The beauty of this film is that it feels like a huge production even though it’s independent. The insane world is delivered by the script and the acting rather than the money put behind it, which also stands as a testament to the message of the movie. The comedic moments don’t distract from the message, but they rather help appease the audience.
While the genius of the film derives from its satirical elements, the conflict that surrounds Stanfield’s character and the journey that he goes on is what really resonates. Having to navigate this heightened world and confront his own morals, Cash is somewhat resemblant to what many people experience in today’s society.
Boots Riley’s film excellently depicts the problems of the modernizing world. The beauty of the world that’s been created also resides in the similarities that it holds to our own. The most discomforting aspect is that in a modernizing world, the question remains: How far away from this reality are we? Exploring this element is what leads to a true artform within the narrative.