Updated: May 26
I will do my best not to give spoilers for this movie. But I will say that after I finished it, I sat with my jaw on the floor until the credits were over, then immediately ran to my roommate's room and ranted about the crazy movie I just watched.
What’s in it?
Let me put on my movie critic hat real quick (that I guess I have now?). The bulk of this film’s comedy is presented through satire and hyperbole. Not so buried underneath, it’s a pretty blunt message on the state of Capitalist America™. For example, there's a stand-in for the Amazon corporation, the most popular TV show is called "I Got The *#$@ Kicked Out of Me!" and it's just people getting beat up on TV which ultimately distracts the general public from the horrors happening around them, the managers of the telemarketing company are either sleazy and gross or try way too hard to be fun and relatable to their employees, etc. That kind of thing.
The main character, Cassius Green (played by LaKeith Stanfield, who I know from Atlanta), is broke and gets a job as a telemarketer. While working there, one coworker (played by the great Danny Glover!) gives him advice and tells him, “You gotta use your ‘white voice.’” A different coworker (played by Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead) starts organizing a union. Cassius ends up taking the advice and skyrockets to wealth and success, leaving the union behind. Then things get interesting. Oh, and Tessa Thompson (who I know from Thor Ragnarök) plays Cassius's girlfriend, Detroit. She's great.
Pros and Cons
I liked the message of the film, but I feel like it didn't say anything new or innovative. Granted, the message is worth repeating, and people are inspired to deliver that message in new and different ways.
Not super relevant, but I liked the music in the movie. As a DJ and musician, I always pay super close attention to that stuff.
I liked the two art scenes in the film. They aren't like artsy from a film perspective; they feature a character doing a performance art piece and making a big sculpture. To me, the former foreshadowed the concept of the movie-going off the rails. The latter (to me) pointed to the movie itself and said, "See what we're saying???!!!" That may come off as negative, but I liked it, and it made me laugh.
The ending was almost a downer but gave some catharsis after a brief post-credits scene, and that was good.
I liked it. I had my girlfriend watch it with me and apologized afterward because I didn't realize how wack the movie would end up being, and that's not really her genre, but I still liked it. Don't watch it with your parents or kids, and don't watch it if you don't like satirical, hyperbolic political commentary. Do watch it if you hate capitalism.
Rating: 6/8 stars. One star for every metaphor that called out capitalism.