A good movie trailer will entice you to watch a film and hopefully not spoil anything.
A great one will get you in the theater and leave you baffled when the world of the film becomes so much deeper and unexpected.
Such is the case with “Sorry To Bother You,” a hit film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival now making its way to larger audiences across the country.
Watch the trailer if you’d like, but be prepared for just about anything.
At first glance, writer/director Boots Riley seems to have made a stylized, yet mundane feature about office life in Oakland.
But to hear him tell it, his debut feature comments on a plethora of social and political topics over the course of 105 minutes because any story that’s merely about one idea isn’t worth telling.
Structurally, “Sorry To Bother You” maintains a traditional, easy to follow plotline led by Lakeith Stanfield’s Cassius Green, an unemployed man who takes up work at a telemarketing firm in order to move out of his uncle’s garage.
As he climbs up the ladder of success by mastering his “white voice” to increase sales, “Sorry To Bother You” begins a rollercoaster ride of original, cinematic grandeur that will shock reserved audiences and invigorate viewers looking for fresh perspectives.
Stanfield, known for the hit TV show “Atlanta” and last year’s Oscar winning “Get Out,” breaks out as a lead actor in a major way here as Cassius, a good-hearted man of the people conflicted by the power of money versus social justice.
Stanfield builds Cassius’ growth over the course of the movie, slowly and organically as if he is learning about himself simultaneously to Cassius. This allows the highs and lows Cassius faces over the increasingly absurdist comedy to feel authentic and grounded.
Conversely, Tessa Thompson has a decidedly less dramatic character arc as Cassius’ fiancee Detroit, though the power of her character evolves significantly over the course of the film.
The supporting performance pack comedic punch with notable turns from Danny Glover as a veteran coworker of Cassius and Patton Oswalt and David Cross in off screen roles as “white voices” for some of the most pivotal characters.
Armie Hammer takes the most chances — most of which pay off — as a playboy CEO that’s one part Mark Cuban, two parts “Wolf of Wall Street” and 100 percent out of his mind.
Unlike anything Hammer has done before, the “Call Me By Your Name” really goes for broke here in a performance that leans towards caricature without completely tipping over the edge.
Visually, “Sorry To Bother You” is a cavalcade of hues clashing and smashing against Riley’s anarchist screenplay with reckless abandon.
Like the film’s script, there’s so many hidden layers within shots from the obvious costume alterations of Thompson’s Detroit to the more subtle, emotionally calculated photo Cassius hangs everywhere he goes.
Once viewers are bombarded with the cinematic spectacle that is the first viewing, Riley’s nuanced examination (and almost entire rejection) of cinematic and political convention leap to the forefront.
The eccentricities and stylistic barrel rolls “Sorry To Bother You” grinds into audiences shouldn’t work on any plausible level, technically or theatrically.
Riley, a storytelling hip-hop artist by trade, defies the odds with captivating flair, taking the mind’s eye of a pre-teen boy and cramming modern societal commentary for one of the decade’s most outlandishly wonderful films.
Though ardent support will be given to make “Sorry To Bother You” a contender for award season nominations, the film is far more likely to garner recognition from independent filmmakers than more mainstream groups despite the Academy’s concerted effort to diversify the Oscar voting base.
Considerable acclaim for Riley’s unique style and direction as well as terrific lead performances from Stanfield and Thompson could easily see the trio earn acclaim regionally as well.
“Sorry To Bother You” is a film that strives and intends to bother audiences.
Fight the urge to dismiss the unorthodox filmmaking and indulge in a cinematic adventure unlike anything you’ve seen for a long time.