Welcome to another film analysis friends! Recently my main concern has been with staying centered and spiritual, but I don't want to stop pointing out my observations in the media around us. Despite the agenda, I will always love film and the many stories it tells. True artists still exist, although they are often met with resistance in order to make their vision real. I've been brainstorming ideas for films myself, but that's another story.
As you can see, my film of choice today is called Sorry To Bother You
(2018) directed by Boots Riley. I highly suggest watching this film before reading this analysis, as there will of course be spoilers and detailed breakdowns. Beware, it has some strange and graphic elements. I first saw this film not knowing what to expect, and it was so bizarre I watched it again almost immediately to search for more details. On the surface, this film seems to follow Hollywood's agenda to address racism, but there are so many more elements to analyze and take into account that make this piece so much more than that.
We're introduced to our main character, Cassius Green, in the midst of a job interview at a call center called Regal View. The name Cassius usually means "empty" or "vain" in Latin, which makes more sense as the film goes on. The interview doesn't seem to be going well. The manager (named Mr. Anderson, makes me think of the Matrix) breaks down his resume as almost completely fabricated, and Cassius admits his desperation. Thankfully, his fabrications actually impress the manager and indicate his initiative and comprehensive reading skills. "This is telemarketing," says Mr. Anderson. "We're not mapping the f-cking human genome here. I'll hire damn near anyone."
Cassius is thrilled. He is reminded to "Stick To The Script
" as he exits. The title flashes by and the scene changes.
An intimate scene with Cassius and his girlfriend (named Detroit) shows the audience his situation and discontent with life. He asks her if she ever thinks about dying someday of old age, right before the garage door separating his room from the street flies up on its own. There's a lot to notice in this scene, from the decorations in his room to the advertisement he catches on TV. As he closes the garage door, we see the phrase "Reality sets in" above his head. The advertisement for a business called Worryfree cheerfully describes a company that houses and clothes its employees "for life", which sounds appealing to someone down on their luck, like Cassius. However, they look very similar to prisoners, and it is the first of many red flags.
As a quick side note, I am absolutely obsessed with Detroit and her choice of fashion in this film. Her earrings always make a statement, and her performance art is entrancing. She is an artistic activist and Cassius' voice of reason in the film.
Terry Crews makes an appearance as Cassius' landlord and uncle, who has been very lenient and kind with Cassius as far as rent goes until this point. He reassures his uncle money is coming with his new job. They have a brief back and forth about their situation; the bank is threatening to take his uncle's house, and Cassius has been unable to help out for four months
. He's even given Cassius transportation. It might be in bad shape, but it gets him from A to B. He barely manages to put in forty cents of gas into the smoking vehicle before heading to his telemarketing job.
As he enters the building, he stops to notice a very fancy elevator and a well dressed black man in a bowler hat. We get a sense of curiosity and longing as well as an ominous vibe. As he sits down to his assigned cubicle, a different manager is explaining the basics to him. If he does well enough, he's told, he might even achieve the role of "Power Caller." This position is on another floor through the mysterious gold elevator, and this possibility is used to motivate him like a carrot on a string.
"Stick to the script," he's told again.
The style of the film gets interesting here. As Cassius calls potential clients, his desk is launched in front of them as if he is in the room. While this is happening, there is unexplained chaos in the copy room behind him. Papers are flying, the machine is flashing, and the audience isn't sure why. He immediately discovers how awkward it can be to reach people to make a sale. They often hang up, or begin spilling personal problems and excuses as to why they can't give him money. He does his best to stick to the script, but isn't having much luck. Perhaps the machine malfunction in the background represents his own internal overwhelmedness at the finess the job actually requires.
In the next scene, he's telling his friend Sal exactly that. "I feel incompetent and like an asshole doing this job." They're in a very small club, and for the first time Cassius notices someone entering a "VIP room." It's clear he's interested in being included in exclusive situations, and asks Sal how to get in, only to discover it's extremely cramped and uncomfortable. Despite his unpleasant expression, he emerges claiming "that's some baller shit." This is our first clue that Cassius doesn't want to admit exclusivity isn't all it's cracked up to be. He wants more.
The next day at work an older man next to him notices he's struggling and makes a suggestion: "use your white voice
." He further explains it as speaking from a perspective of someone who has no worries, paid bills, and a luxurious life. "Breezy
," he says. "Like 'I don't really need this money
'." Cassius seems unsure, but open to it. "It's not really a white voice,
" the man goes on to explain. "It's what they wish they sounded like. So it's like, what they think they're supposed to sound like.
" He shows Cassius with a drastic and comical voice change to drive his point home. Cassius is clearly impressed.
I've never had a telemarketing job, but I'm guessing the following scene depicting a team meeting is very relatable to some. The attempt to raise moral and encourage the employees with buzzwords and metaphors in front of another oversized reminder to stick to the script
is probably familiar to many who have had a telemarketing job or a job like it. A new female manager introduces herself and is immediately called out for having a name spelled exactly like debauchery. People like this often talk down to employees while simultaneously trying to humanize themselves and claim every member of the "team" is a "family member"
From my experience, these unsavory jobs almost always use the "we're all family here" as an excuse to use their employees and underpay them, while always pushing them to do more. They attempt to elicit emotion and use words like "synergy" and "connection" to motivate employees. This is very obviously the case with this telemarketing company. Employees are blatantly taken advantage of, and many of them are forced to take it because of their financial position. The team at Regal View are clearly unhappy and put off by Diana DeBouchery's snappy little speech.
A fellow employee who calls himself Squeeze compliments Cassius' question about asking for more money. He quietly tells Cassius that some employees are organizing to strike and demand higher pay and benefits. Cassius gives him a ride in a charming scene with Detroit and Sal present. Squeeze compliments Detroit on her name, and she mentions her parents wanting her to have an American name. The film is meant to be in an alternate present-day Oakland, but the universe starts to feel more and more familiar, especially every time we see what's on the television.
Folks have caught on to the controversial nature of Worryfree "employing for life," calling it a new form of slavery, reports the news, showing protests in front of the Worryfree headquarters. Here we are introduced to the Worryfree CEO Steve Lift, as played by Armie Hammer, who is currently surrounded in controversy over whether or not he is a cannibal. I could make a whole separate post on this, but of course it's already been done
. As is the way with many villains, Steve vehemently denies (from an Oprah
interview, I might add) that Worryfree is slavery, much like Armie has denied his suspicious allegations. The truth seems to be in plain sight once again, but the public is mislead and confused by the man with the most money and CEO with an agenda. How familiar.
The speech he gives justifying contracting employees to life long labor sounds much like a Communist trying to justify something similar. "We're saving the economy
," he claims. "The idea that this is slavery is ludicrous and offensive.
" People in the wrong will often act offended when called out in order to spin the narrative and gaslight their accusers for even suggesting they'd be wrong. It is a classic psychological move and is actively used by the media and politicians today to shame people who question those in charge.
Now at a bar with his friends and Detroit, Cassius stuns them all by giving a toast in his "white voice." Squeeze mentions that it sounds as if he's dubbed over, a fourth wall reference to the fact that he is in fact being dubbed over by David Cross. It becomes his greed-driven persona, bent on fitting in with those of higher social status and not being "stuck" like people he went to school with. One could argue that he already has what he needs: an income, love, and friends who care about him and have been there for him in hard times. But Cassius gets a taste of success when he starts to do very well with his alternate persona.
Really well. Scary well. Cue the montage of his managers being absolutely thrilled by Cassius with each sale. He's told there's now a higher chance of becoming a Power Caller, which Squeeze had claimed to be an empty scam to motivate employees. Even Sal seems doubtful.
Back at the bar, we see a headline flash by that Worryfree was cleared of all slavery charges. Like our own reality, the evil in the world has the power to make problems disappear and reassure the public there's nothing to worry about as they do exactly what they're accused of. There's even a popular show called "I Got The Shit Kicked Out of Me" and Squeeze wonders what kind of world they live in when a show like that is the most popular. This parallels other alternative reality films like Idiocracy, where the most popular show was called "Ouch, My Balls." This obviously reflects the IQ of the main populous and the opinion of those in charge; they think we're stupid
We're shown many other side details that all contain meaning. An advertisement by Worryfree is shame based, and covered over by civilians against the message, who have formed a coalition called "Left Eye." These rebels even underline their left eye in the same manner as Lisa Lopes
, also known as Left Eye. I have a feeling that this is more symbolic than just referencing a female rap artist. The rebels are framed as extremists, and protests are described as "violent" despite the fact that their legal attempts have done nothing and the company is clearly up to no good. A man is shown brushing his teeth in his car, and we're meant to notice that he is the same man that supposedly represents a success story of Regal View.
Squeeze is attempting to organize the strike he was telling Cassius about in the beginning. Everyone seems ready except for Cassius himself, who looks a little hesitant to sacrifice his success. He stares deeply at the gold elevator doors and sees the same mysterious man emerge. I noted that he has a patch over his left eye. The phone strike certainly pisses off the managers, but when Cassius stands up for his position thinking he's about to be fired, they promote him instead. What he doesn't realize is that they're separating him from his fellow employees on purpose. They bathe him in compliments and tell him not to worry about his peers. Despite the rumor that Power Callers sell something entirely different and potentially harmful, Cassius accepts the offer.
Things get a little strange when Diana DeBouchery takes him into the elevator, still complimenting him profusely, and enters a comically long code into the excessively luxurious box. Finally, he is greeted by the mysterious man he's been seeing, and is told to use his alternate persona voice at all times. His voice, I'd like to note, is dubbed by Patton Oswalt, who has "joked" about being a proud pedophile on twitter.
It turns out that Power Callers are the people who make very important deals with other countries selling firepower as well as manpower. "When U.S. manufacturers sell arms to other countries who do you think, Mr. Green, makes that call at precisely the perfect time?" When Cassius asks about manpower, he is told that Worryfree is one of Regal View's best clients. They help thousands of companies "utilize" Worryfree workers to "improve their efficiency." In other words, they're selling slaves and weapons for enormous amounts of money and are paid handsomely for discretion.
Cassius works late on his first shift, leaving Detroit at her sign twirling job to wonder where he's been after promising to pick her up as usual. There's a charged scene between her and Squeeze, showing that their ideals are becoming more aligned than hers and Cassius'. He meets her at her gallery set up, He tries to tell her about his promotion, dodging her question about what they actually sell. After a less than supportive comment about her art show, he drifts off in an exhausted trance, barely listening to her heartfelt explanation, reaching for the joint in her hand.
One of my favorite scenes follows this one, in which Sal and Squeeze confront him on his way to work about his promotion and absence from their union of rebellion. They call him a sellout, and the black man who gave him the voice tip shakes his head. While I could go into the racial aspect of black men becoming salesmen of slaves, once again I think this film is more than that, but the narrative is there. It is implied that the old man knew what Power Callers do, and so he always stayed in the same position, humbly believing that no money in the world could turn him into that kind of salesman. He's obviously disappointed in Cash (his nickname throughout) that he went ahead and became the enemy. At the same time, it's clear he hasn't told everyone else what Power Callers really do.
Cash and Sal square up as though they're about to get physical, and begin to "argue," but they're such good friends that all they can do is wish each other well in hostile tones. Their exchange is one of my favorites in any film, period. No matter how far Cash goes, his friendship with Sal is so solid they can't bear to say toxic things to each other.
Back in the Power Caller elevator, the computerized voice hits Cash with some embarrassingly strong programming about his "sexual prowess" and "muscular brain" before entering his spacious glass cubicle. He immediately makes a very successful call, earning himself a cash advance, made clear by another montage of his environment being upgraded. He and Detroit wake up facing away from each other in his clean new apartment, representative of their relationship becoming distant as Cash's finances go through the roof, and morals into the basement.
We see another very strange and concerning advertisement for Worryfree in the style of "MTV Cribs" attempting to frame the employees as happy bunk mates who love the way their small shared spaces are decorated, and Cash flips it midway to another view of a protest of Regalview. Reminded of his guilt, Cash flips back to the Worryfree ad just as the employee is mouthing something in between his obviously scripted lines. He changes the channel again, passing "I Got The Shit Kicked Out Of Me" and back to the protest. He continues to watch as the protesters try to block Power Callers from entering the building to work.
His relationship with Detroit is clearly strained as they discuss the strikes. She makes it clear that Cassius is going somewhere she can't follow. He won't strike with them and has chosen money over his friends. He dodges questions and accusations of having no morals anymore. Cassius is living up to his name, chasing greed and justifying his actions because he's finally gotten a taste of a life he's always wanted, but isn't what it's cracked up to be. "What isn't slave labor these days
?" he says, much to Detroit's disappointment. He says some very harsh things and they have a childish wrestle over the covers. Cash claims he took the job at Regalview to be more interesting to her, to which she replies: "the old you was way more interesting
." If he goes to work now, she says, their relationship is over.
Cassius goes to work, escorted by men in riot gear physically fighting off protesters. He's a full blown anti hero at this point as we witness his shame and guilt through his greed. The photo of his father, always present in his workspace, changes to reflect what his father might think of Cassius, and we see he is pictured giving Cash a thumbs down as he takes a seat. He's celebrated by his new peers, which he clearly relishes, but also faces the emptiness his lifestyle has brought him alone at the end of the day, surrounded by material objects instead of love. This alone is a deep and important message, but the film takes it much further.
Cash becomes a meme on his way to work one day while pushing through angry protestors chanting "scabs won't pass." A woman shouts "have a cola and smile, bitch!" as she chucks a soda can at his head. It hits the internet and goes viral. Costumes are born, complete with a cola stuck in a wig like Cash's hair. He continues to his job, now bandaged and bleeding. His boss, the man known only as Mr. (BLEEP), wipes blood from Cash's face and pockets the tissue, while inviting him to meet the CEO Steve Lift. He emphasizes the importance of the party, saying "not even Jay and Bey can get this invite."
Before the party, we are shown another side of Detroit. She has her own alternate voice to speak to people who might buy her art, and to perform with. The difference is in how she uses her influence to make people think about their environment as well as other countries, mainly Africa. Sal and Squeeze beg him to come back to the union, saying now that he's viral he could make a big difference. He dodges them to watch Detroit invite onlookers to throw objects at her nearly naked while she recites lines from a film called "The Last Dragon." This can be interpreted in many ways, as is the way with performance art. It's an interesting, semi-brutal social experiment that shows when people are invited to inflict harm or not, they'll often choose harm. She's showered in bullets, cell phones, and balloons full of pigs blood.
Cassius interrupts her performance to ask why she subjects herself to this, and she reminds him of the phrase "stick to the script" before driving him off so she can continue making her point.
We finally see Steve Lift in the flesh, who is doing a huge
line of what appears to be coke while gripping a riding crop. It should be noted that he is pictured on a horse on the cover of his book called "I'm on Top." He meets Cassius is a slightly tense false exchange before showering him in compliments again, saying he needs people like Cash who can "see the big picture" and "save the nation." He compares him to several animals, including a raccoon, snake, and tardigrade.
Meanwhile, Detroit and Squeeze have developed romantically. We knew this was coming.
Cash walks in on Steve telling a violent story about how he shot the Rhino above his mantle. He is framed in the center of a large crowd, mostly women, completely surrounding him and lavishing him with attention. Most of the people are notably white, and Steve makes some semi-racist remarks to Cash until the whole room is pressuring him to rap, because "all black men can." Things take a cringy turn as he is put in a literal spotlight to a beat. After fails miserably, he resorts to chanting "n-word" shit over and over again, which pleases the crowd and impresses Steve. I'm uncomfortable with this word, but to some it's just a word. To others, they get permission to be comfortable with the word when a nearby person of color gives them permission like Cash does. I can't say much else about this scene.
There's an element of Eyes Wide Shut to this party; Cash sits alone in a room and we see people fornicating in the shadows as the camera pans out. It feels like Cash is about to be initiated into something above what he's already doing. A lot of secret societies are like this. It's a pyramid of power, and only a few are selected to go further. Mr. (Bleep) approaches him in a drunken stupor and uses his normal voice for the first and only time. He looks weary as he gives Cash instructions to a specific door to meet Steve. He reminds him to be realistic, take the opportunity, and "don't fuck it up."
Cash stumbles through the party, passing people laughing at the protesters on TV on the way, and down some stairs to a strange hallway of different colored doors. Most of them are green, except the magenta door at the end. While green tends to be the color of money and success, when used in film the color red (or in this case magenta) is almost always used as a warning sign.
Steve compliments him again, encouraging him to do a line off of a plate with a horse print on it. Cash obliges.
"I have a proposition for you Cash."
This is the part where things get really bizarre. The part of the film that took me by complete surprise. Steve tells him to watch an informative video, but Cash has to use the bathroom this very minute. Steve denies him at first, then tells him to go out to the jade door. Remember, most of the doors are different shades of green. Cash stumbles into a large dimly lit locker room style bathroom with a single stall. There's someone inside the stall already, begging for help. He opens the door, and out falls a creature who appears to be half man half horse, in chains completely naked. Cash is obviously shocked, as is the audience, and runs out of the bathroom as several more horse-men emerge from dressing stalls begging for help.
Cash emerges flustered to find Steve waiting for him with a pistol. He forces Cash to follow him and watch the video, which explains a dubious plan to create human hybrids who can work harder for Worryfree than regular humans. The use of claymation softens the blow of the explanation, claiming human labor is limited, but scientists have discovered a way to make humans "more efficient, durable, obedient and therefore more profitable." In short, transhumanism, making humans patentable creatures who no longer have rights. They are called Equisapians.
How is this done? With a snortable powder called a "fusing catalyst." The powder that was offered to Cash when he first came in... Like any sane person, Cash feels violated and cheated. He never had a choice. Steve even tries to deny that he snorted the fusing catalyst, but we already know he's a liar from the beginning. He claims it isn't crazy or irrational to create human hybrids to make more money for his company. Lift tries to put his mind at ease by offering him money to be a hybrid and work for him within the Equisapian resistance that may arise, proposing he be the "MLK" of Equisapians, but one that is controlled by the company.
Elites have already done this. Many historical figures have cult ties, or ties to the shadow government. They organize and raise people's spirits only to be taken out and made into martyrs, on purpose, to manipulate emotions of the ones that idolized them. Examples are people like Tupac, Malcom X and even George Floyd, all of whom many have argued were staged deaths to elicit an emotional response from the public. I originally saw compelling evidence from VonTooCut
on Youtube, but please take what he says with a grain of salt. It's a long video, and while I don't believe he's correct about everything he speaks on, he makes a very good case in several instances.
It is also becoming more and more clear that the elite have an agenda to "upgrade" humanity through transhumanism, fusing the public with AI to make them as the infomercial Steve shows Cash says: more efficient, more obedient, and more profitable. This is also strongly suggested in the Planet Lockdown interview
by Catherine Austin Fitts, who breaks down the way the main branches of power are coordinating to work towards this agenda. Once fused with AI, we would be connected to a network and all aspects of our life would be controlled by the invisible grid. Do something unsavory, and you are easily tracked and blocked from travel as well as purchases.
I could also bring up the extraterrestrial aspect of this because I have also come across the theory that we are all hybrids already, created by the ET races that have stake in our planet and future. It's a little more out there, but worth noting as a possibility. Are they still tampering with our planet? Are viruses their way of weeding out weakness as they find a way to upgrade and propel the survivors into a new reality?
Steve is back to reassuring Cash with compliments and offering him a large amount of money to go on a five year mission as a horse hybrid spy, dangling to notion of an antidote at the end of it. Cash notes the way he explains the antidote, as if it didn't exist. He is left still wondering whether or not he snorted the catalyst, and wakes up with his wound bleeding on his pillow, likely a metaphor for his bleeding Ego upon realizing that he is ultimately still being used.
This is his wakeup call. He notes a front page headline that reads: "People should worry about Worryfree." Cash finally starts paying attention and wants to expose the company. There's just one problem: he sounds certifiably insane trying to explain what the CEO is really up to. No journalists will listen to him.
We next see that the Enquirer, often mocked as outrageous fake news even in our own reality, has a story about the Equisapian experiments on the front page. He sees himself on TV again as he goes in to the doctor, concerned is already transforming. He even invites Detroit to see if his d-ck looks different. At this point even the viewer is unsure of if he'll transform and how soon it'll happen. He and Detroit discover that he sent video evidence of the hybrids to her phone. They spend a night together, and he explains that he's finally done with the company. However, Detroit also emphasizes that she still doesn't think they should be together.
He is forced to take drastic action and use his viral fame to appear on the show "I Got The Shit Kicked Out of Me" in order to expose the clip. He endures a literal beating and gets actual shit poured on him before they finally show his clip. He reaches a new level of fame, appearing on multiple talk shows exposing the agenda of Worryfree. His exposure backfires, and the stock of Worryfree skyrockets, claiming Steve Lift is an innovative genius. Many people idolize him so much, some even proclaim he is Jesus.
Cash meets up with his friends to apologize for betraying them through Regalview, before expressing frustration at his endeavors. "It's right in front of their faces," he laments. "They're turning human beings into monstrosities and nobody gives a f-ck." This is how a lot of people who wake up to the global agenda feel. Many of us sound crazy to others, and even the truth doesn't change the minds of those so indoctrinated that they still believe what is happening is a good thing. Squeeze makes a very good point when he says "If you're shown a problem, and you can't control the problem, then you decide to just get used to the problem."
Back on the front lines, the protesters make a new attempt to stop Power Callers from entering. At first they seem successful, but more armed men in black show up and the protest takes a violent turn. Cash has done something we don't see involving breaking into the facility. When the protest becomes overwhelming, he blows a whistle to signal what the audience can only assume are the Equestrians, but he is knocked out by the opposition before we see them come forth. He wakes up in an armored van to see the violence has escalated, and the Equisapians have in fact shown up. He is released by one, and Squeeze acknowledges them with respect, saying their struggles and fight are the same.
He's earned back Detroit, and gives Sal his car as a further apology. He even moves back into his uncle's house. It took something absolutely horrible happening for Cash to shed his Ego and humble himself. He finally feels like he's part of something important. Just as everything seems to be winding down, Cash suddenly begins to transform.
The final scene is included in the end credits. We see Steve answering a call, and it's Cash, fully transformed and about to stomp Steve to a pulp. The film ends as he enters with his fellow Equisapiens, and assumes Steve got what he deserved.
Again I want to emphasize that this film is strange with many layers. The horse hybrids may seem ridiculous, but so do many things in our own reality that are surfacing as true. While there is a racial aspect to the story, Squeeze points out that despite their differences they share a common enemy. I believe our own society is headed towards something similar, and many won't realize what is happening until it happens to them personally, like Cash. Things may have to take a violent turn, because most of society has been programmed to listen to villains like Steve, or Bill Gates for example.
In every similar story of humanity future, there is resistance and violence to the agenda of the elite, but it isn't necessarily the majority. We have been given so many warnings in so many forms, but many people are content in denial, or just get used to the problem because they don't know what to do about it. I'm seeing a similar effect now. Despite how many people are starting to wake up to the agenda, we still don't know what to do about it. Even I don't have a solution, but we have to start recognizing that our struggles are ultimately against one common enemy, not each other. We're like a colony of ants in a jar being shaken. Some ants blame each other, but what we should be asking is: who is shaking the jar?
Thank you so much for reading. I believe films like this are important to delve into in order to gain insight not only into the elites but into ourselves. Who will we represent in our own story? Cassius? Detroit? Squeeze? Will we follow our greed until it takes us too far, make a statement through art, or organize? Does a company like Worryfree or RegalView already exist, or will it? Only time will tell.