Top Ten Movies of 2018 — Number Eight


Satire is punishingly hard to master on the big screen. It’s a tricky puzzle in any medium, but there’s an added degree of difficulty when the tapestry is so large and dynamic. Many skilled filmmakers have taken large gashes in the hulls of their careers by trying to make fierce political and social points using broad, absurdist comedy. I’m not if that necessarily makes the creative accomplishment of Boots Riley’s feature directorial debut, Sorry to Bother You, more impressive, but it undoubtedly places the film in an elite pantheon. Without diminishing Riley’s artistry, his neophyte status empowers him to the miraculous feat, like Wile E. Coyote briefly standing safely on thin air, simply because he hasn’t thought to tilt his gaze downward. Beginning with the indignity of working within the soul-deadening and identity-robbing field of telemarketing and pinballing in a dozen unpredictable courses from there, Sorry to Bother You presents a bleakly funny assessment of the current moment. It’s a manifesto of informed anger scrawled in acidic ink. Riley brings a bold visual sense and keen storytelling skills to the film. He’s also blessed with fortunate timing in assembling a cast of uncommonly fearless performers to help realize this vision. Someday, Lakeith Stanfield will return to his home dimension, and films such as Sorry to Bother You will be that much more improbable. Cherish the convergence. Its resulting vortex of insightful tomfoolery might not be seen again.

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