First Hit: What I liked about this film is that it is funny, unique, and unlike any other film I’ve seen.
This film is an alternate universe to present day Oakland, CA. Here we have Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) looking for work, living in a garage, and dating artist Detroit (Tessa Thompson). One of the early funny scenes is when he and Detroit start messing around in bed and a garage door opens which exposes his room as a garage and his neighbors say "get a room". Very funny scene and sets a tone for the film.
Enjoyed Cassius’s interview for a telemarketing job because of what we discover about his creativeness to make himself look like he has a great past working record.
Getting the job, he’s coached by Langston (Danny Glover) to use his “white voice.” This was hilarious, and the voice Danny uses, and the voice Cassius uses are perfectly nerdy white. I loved it. His managers tell him if he does well he’ll be elevated to the position of Power Caller. As a Power Caller he’ll make a lot of money and get to ride in the private elevator. Watch for the entering of the elevator code - hilarious.
The film uses funny ways to see how he doesn’t connect, and then connects with people he tele-markets. All of a sudden, he drops from his desk into the home of the person he’s calling and directly discusses his pitch and deal.
The movie also has a story about workers rights. Leading this effort is Squeeze (Steven Yuen) and working with Cassius’s close friend Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) start a protest with all of the other telemarketers. Cassius and Detroit are for the cause however, Cassius has now moved up to the Power Caller floor, he holds back from wholeheartedly supporting the protest movement.
As a Power Caller he starts selling for a company called WorryFree run by Steve Lift (Armie Hammer) that offers people the option of working for no money, but they get a place to live, food to eat and entertainment. But others think this is just slave labor. Steve is so impressed with Cassius’s ability to market that he wants him to manage his newest endeavor, making Equisapiens. Equisapiens are people who take a specific drug giving them the strength of horses and also change their physical appearance to look like a person and a horse. Because of their strength, Lift claims can do more work better.
There is more to this film and it is even more bizarre including a reality show called “I Got the S#*@ Kicked Out of Me”.
As I watched this story unfold, all of a sudden someone I know in real life appears on the screen as a newscaster. Ken Baggott is the newscaster that gives us a play by play during the film. That was a great surprise.
Stanfield was excellent as the creative goal achieving telemarketer who had to decide whether he continues to pursue a career where he excels or support his girlfriend and friends and do the right thing. Thompson was outstanding as Cassius’s girlfriend. She’s very fluid in this role and made it very natural. Yuen was strong as the instigator for workers rights. Glover was excellent as the long-time telemarketer. Fowler was very strong as Cassius’s friend who supported his friend. Baggott was perfect as the newscaster. His voice and reporting of the events were spot on. Boots Riley wrote and directed this very creative and inventive film.
Overall: What made this work was the acting in an inventive creative film.