Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer star in the exhilarating directorial debut from rapper Boots Riley.

Look up “bonkers” in any good dictionary and the first entry should be Sorry to Bother You, the loony directorial debut from rapper Boots Riley (best known as frontman of political hip-hop group The Coup). It’s a live-wire comedy with a social conscience, a commentary on race, labor, and American capitalism that veers in so many directions that it’s best to just strap in and let it take you where it wants you to go.

Sorry to Bother You — which brought down the house at its Sundance premiere — is set in a near-future (or maybe alternate-future) Oakland, with only a few dystopic distinctions.

As with last year’s Get Out, the movie’s genius lies not so much in how it reflects reality but in how it interprets it. It’s about exploitation and profit, about the fetishization of black bodies and the indignities of code-switching, about giving up your dignity and trying to find love. Careening from office comedy to something like horror, Sorry to Bother You is weird and funny and unsettling, and not quite like anything I’ve seen before.

Sorry to Bother You is about a down-and-out Oaklander trying to get by

Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield) — the character names in this film are intentionally on the nose — is an Oakland native living in the garage at his uncle’s house (Terry Crews) and struggling to get by, wondering if life really has any meaning at all or is just a pointless grind. His artist girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) twirls a sign on a street corner to make ends meet. Cash lands a job in telemarketing at a company called RegalView but is terrible at it, until Read More Here