Six months later, I still don’t know how to talk about this movie with people who haven’t seen it. It’s unquestionably one of my favorite movies of the year and one of the most important movies of the year, but my biggest request of people when I’m begging them to check it out is that they learn as little as possible.
Here’s the premise: Cassius Green (say it aloud), played by Lakeith Stanfield, is bouncing from job to job, living in his uncle’s garage with his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson). A tip from his friend Salvador leads him to a call center job that has him cold-calling people to sell them on magazine subscriptions. A tip from an old hat in the center helps Cassius find the most important asset possible when interacting with strangers: his white voice. The voice of absolute confidence that you belong there, that you’re worth talking to, that you don’t have a worry in the world.
This discovery sends Cassius rocketing up the ladder of success, placing him on the High Rollers floor. Where things go from here, I can’t say without revealing spoilters. This is a weird, funny, deeply socialist movie. Director Boots Riley places every element in this movie with absolute precision to ensure that nothing is random, nothing just looks good or sounds good. Every character, every line, every scene pulls the movie together.
Lakeith Stanfield is a standout, but just as important is his White Voice, played by David Cross. When Cassius turns on the charm, Cross’ cloyingly overconfident voice comes out and people start responding to him differently. This, along with some genius editing work, help turn what could be a heavy-handed movie about the dangers of capitalism into a hilarious movie that happens to have a lot to say about the power of activism. In 2018, when labor, wage, and trade wars are the daily news, the movie manages to be relevant without feeling sensational.
There aren’t any superheroes in this movie, but I left feeling powerful. Don’t skip this one.
Check out our original review from July over at The Nerdy.
- Release Date: July 13, 2018
- Box Office: $17.5 million
- Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
- Director: Boots Riley
- Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, David Cross, Tessa Thompson, Steve Yuen
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