Movie Review: “Sorry To Bother You”

“Sorry To Bother You” Is A Ruling-Class Trojan Horse

Alert: “Sorry to Bother You,” hailed as a “devastating take-down of capitalism” and “a deranged anti-capitalist romp” is in fact a ruling- class Trojan Horse. We must continue our fight for Communism.

This hit movie takes place in present day Oakland, USA. It The movie centers on a young African American, Cassius Green, who is so impoverished that he lives with his girlfriend Detroit in the garage of his equally desperate uncle.. Cassius drives a car so wretched that he operates the windshield wipers by tugging strings threaded through the windows and buys gas 40 cents at a time.

Cassius gets a job at an Oakland telemarketing company, Regal View. After several customers hang up on him, Cassius gets some advice from an older African-American co-worker, Langston, who advises him to use his white voice which will make him “sound, breezy, carefree like you don’t really need the money. It’s what white people think they’re supposed to sound like”.

Cassius rides his “white” voice to the top floor where “Power Callers” work. Cassius finds himself torn between social mobility and union organizing by a coworker and his girlfriend, Detroit. When the Regal View telemarketers strike for better pay and working conditions, Cassius scabs, breaks their picket line, and soon loses his friends, Detroit, and his dignity.

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

Cassius’ success as a Power Caller gets him invited to join Regal View’s biggest client, Worry Free, where workers are housed, fed, and entertained in a factory-like setting.

The Worry Free CEO invites Cassius to an exclusive party in a mansion, where he discovers that Worry Free is engaging in a perverse fusion of horses and humans, equisapiens, who are genetically modified to be bigger and stronger workers.

In the final scene Cassius, now an equisapien, smashes the door of the Worry Free CEO. Workers fighting the corporation?

Equisapiens serve as an allegory with multiple meanings. Warped faces of exploited workers, represent dehumanization at the hands of a corporate giant like Worry Free and the evils of unchecked capitalism.

This film’s writer-director is Boots Riley, leader of the hip-hop group The Coup. The film has been widely distributed in the US and featured in a four-page article, “How Boots Riley Infiltrated Hollywood” in the May 27, 2018 New York Times (NYT) Magazine. The article states that Riley has been a self-described Communist since his teens when he joined the Progressive Labor Party.

What are the convictions of this self-described Communist? In the NYT article, Riley says that he aims “to help build a mass movement that can use withholding of labor as a strategy for social change.”

What is that social change? The NYT article lists his involvement in some political/social movements: Palestinian rights, Occupy, and Oakland renters’ protests against evictions. Riley says nothing in the article about getting rid of capitalism, the source of the injustices and miseries depicted in his film. The activism and film of this self-described Communist actually support reforming capitalism and thereby maintaining it.

No fight for Communism here.

One reviewer has described “Sorry to Bother You:” as “Boots Riley’s Trojan Horseplay.” A Trojan Horse is something that seems to be good but hides something bad. This movie is a Trojan Horse because it depicts the poverty, dehumanization, and degeneracy of capitalism but does not cite the cause of these miseries, capitalism. “Sorry to Bother You” is a satire. Satire uses humor to expose the shortcomings and abuses of corporations, government, and society. It is often used to effect political or social change. This film graphically exposes the failures and abuses of capitalism but doesn’t present the only clear change/solution to ending them: mobilizing the masses for communism.

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