Director: Boots Riley
Year Released: 2018
Underemployed Cassius (Lakeith Stanfield), who's been dating performance artist/sign twirler Detroit (Tessa Thompson), takes a job as a telemarketer and finds he can adopt a "white voice" (provided by David Cross), which lands him more sales and gets the attention of slimy executive Steve Lift (Armie Hammer). I've always felt that the nightmare of Corporate America - and the problem of regular Americans just trying to get by - doesn't get enough attention in the movies (maybe because they're the same issues people go to the cinema to get away from) but musician Riley, in his debut feature, has a lot of fun with the idea: it gets a little sloppy at the end, but the surreal touches (mutant horse-people! radical earrings! a transforming apartment!) are quite nice and the (racial) politics are to-the-point without being overly preachy (we get it, we're on your side, etc.). Having worked (very briefly) for an insurance company making cold calls all day I can confirm it was a soul-obliterating experience, so when Cassius becomes a scab part of me understood ... but then again, I was never given a raise at all and actively encouraged to leave. Oakland represent!