With its dystopian story of racial exploitation behind the veneer of modern America, “Sorry to Bother You,” the first movie by the rapper Boots Riley, is showing the fresh vitality in African American cinema.
The movie, which hits US theaters on Friday, comes a year after the runaway success of “Get Out,” the first feature film by Jordan Peele about a town of wealthy white people who conspire to implant themselves into African American bodies.
“Sorry to Bother You,” also made on a small budget, marks a new outlet for the militant voice of Riley, best known as the frontman of The Coup, the politically engaged and critically praised hip-hop group.
With echoes of science-fiction classic “Metropolis,” the film focuses on exploitation at a telemarketing firm, whose workers are crammed into the basement as executives work on floors above them in vast rooms bathed in light.
Separating them is an elevator, which becomes the setting for several comical scenes. The hero Cassius — played by Lakeith Stanfield, who also starred in “Get Out” — can only ascend in the elevator, and the symbolic social ladder, as he switches into a “white voice.”
– New settings for race –
Much like “Get Out,” set in a placid town where the villain is said to have voted for Barack Obama, “Sorry to Bother You” shines a light not on police brutality or other more obvious issues in Donald Trump’s America but instead looks at racism in ostensibly safe confines.
In “Sorry to Bother You,” the CEO of fictitious…
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