A surreal comedy about "rising up and selling out," the film Sorry to Bother You is written and directed by Boots Riley.
"Riley, an artist, activist and musician making his feature-directing debut, is both an omnivore and an original," explains A.O. Scott. "One of the secondary pleasures of watching Sorry to Bother You is sifting through its possible influences. But Mr. Riley isn’t constructing yet another postmodern playhouse out of borrowings and allusions. He’s building a raft, and steering it straight into the foaming rapids of racism, economic injustice and cultural conflict." To read the full article, click here.
"The title tips off the setting—a dreary telemarketing cubicle farm —but doesn’t begin to hint at what Riley has in mind," says Mark Binelli. "After setting up his audience for a familiar workplace comedy in the vein of Office Space, he proceeds to madly derail all expectations, producing, instead, a surreal racial satire and pointed capitalist critique with startling plot turns that veer toward dystopian science fiction. It’s formally eccentric, politically charged and very, very funny." To read the full article, click here.
"Riley's cheerfully deranged script has a curious tendency to seem haphazard in the moment, only to pull back and reveal a larger design," adds Justin Chang. "And he gives his ideas a marvelously fluid cinematic form—apparent in the movement and precision of Doug Emmett’s cinematography, the vibrant colors of Jason Kisvarday’s production design and the moody intensity of the soundtrack, much of it by Riley’s hip-hop band the Coup— that dodges your every attempt to nail down the movie's true intentions." To read the full article, click here.
"We were lighting with bold colors and with strong contrast, but we didn't want the cinematography to distract from the characters," Emmett tells Rin Ehlers Sheldon. "That being said, we wanted a stylized visual. Bouncing sunlight with mirrors, white cloth and foam core lent a more natural look for interior and exterior day scenes.
"For night scenes— such as apartment and bar interiors—colors were chosen with tone in mind, helping support the narrative. The film is dark, with many scenes intentionally lit so that you can’t always see the actor's eyes or half their face. We felt that the added noise and contrast sometimes rendered an 'imperfect' look, and that appealed to us." To read the full interview, click here.
"This is ultra-progressive, radical storytelling that manages to stay totally joyful and inventive throughout. Riley manages to both never come off as taking the thing too seriously, but he also verbalizes his intersectional, anti-capitalist ideals in visually unforgettable fashion." To read the full article, click here.