This is one hell of a debut. In what is sure to be a hot topic of conversation this summer, writer-director Boots Riley has combined the best and strangest of Get Out and Brazil, and mixed in some Oakland edge and some topically insane real-life influences, and made it look sexy. That’s no small feat, yet Riley’s Sorry To Bother You performs double duty with flying colors — both a dystopian kick in the pants and a laugh-a-minute satire, both deliriously delightful and delightfully delirious. Before the film even begins, the assembled cast and crew is enough to take your breath away. Behind the camera, Riley, lead vocalist of The Coup, proves his mettle as a creative screenwriter and crafty director. His camera has a way of presenting something instantly odd and unexplainable yet characterizing it with humor or simple surreality; it is certainly reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s brand of dystopian madness or even some of the layered absurdities of Ruben Östlund’s The Square. Riley has also compiled a killer soundtrack, comprised of some Coup songs here and there, but mostly — in an inspired decision — the psychedelic vocals of Merrill Garbus and her Tune-Yards compatriots. The film begs a second viewing for numerous reasons, and it is testament to Riley’s musical savvy that the soundtrack alone is one of them. Add in some eye-popping costume design by Deirdra Elizabeth Govan, and a producer credit from Forest Whitaker, who also provides an important voice that I will not dare spoil, and it's a knockout team. On-camera, standouts and hidden gems of various screen properties of recent years populate the cast: the inimitable Tessa Thompson, the ever-charming Steven Yeun, the on-and-off-screen hero Terry Crews, the suave Omari Hardwick, the legendary Danny Glover, even the side-splitting voices of comedy goldmines David Cross and Patton Oswalt. And of course, leading the film, one of modern cinema’s coolest and cleverest young male performers, Lakeith Stanfield. (This particular marriage of actor and film is a stupendous combination — some rising stars can get saddled with a lamentable first go as a full-on lead, but Stanfield’s lanky charisma and wide-eyed dramatic ability are a perfect fit for Riley’s anarchic tale.) And what an anarchic tale it is. The film takes place principally around Oakland, in a disorienting alternate reality only somewhat different from our own. In this world, one of the largest mega-corporations in operation is the all-in-one labor and living facility known as ‘Worry-Free,’ owned by power-mad entrepreneur Steve Lift — played with Musk/Bezos-esque megalomania by Armie Hammer. The central path of Sorry To Bother You, however, is more concerned with Cassius Green (Stanfield), a nice young man living in a garage owned by his uncle Serge (Terry Crews). Cassius, known as Cash, finally gets a job at Regal View call center, and is introduced by veteran caller Langston (Glover) to the true way to get ahead in the rat race — “use your white voice.” This is not only a devilishly clever empirical diagnosis of one of modern society’s most insidious racial ills, but a brilliant cinematic gag that elicits laughs honestly every time Riley whips it out. With David Cross providing his ‘white voice,’ Cash becomes such a successful phone salesman that he is quickly promoted to ‘power caller,’ sending him upstairs to the real leaders. There he meets various razor-sharp parodies of ‘corporate’ characters, from the insufferable Diana DeBauchery, pronounced dee-beau-cherry (Kate Berlant), to the mysterious Mr. _______ (Hardwick), whose ‘white voice’ is also wildly successful, and just as hilarious as voiced by Patton Oswalt. Meanwhile, grassroots organizer Squeeze (Steven Yeun) and Cash’s old friend Sal (Jermaine Fowler) try to strike for better wages at the call center, and his compassionate, whip-smart artist girlfriend Detroit (Thompson) opens an art show called "The New Fuck You" in which Thompson, and Riley, get a chance to skewer self-serious and occasionally inane ‘points’ being made by well-intentioned but unfocused performance artists and the like. The performers each give it their all, diving deep into Riley’s world with a ferocity that speaks to his clarity of vision and talent for directing actors, yet it is Stanfield who really takes the cake here. As if we needed any more evidence of his talent (after delivering scene-stealing turns in Get Out, Selma, Dope, Straight Outta Compton, and many more), Sorry To Bother You allows him to fully embody a character who drives the plot from start to finish, and offers an excellent balance of audience surrogacy and bemused resilience against the insanity around him. The plot is bizarre, disarming, and ultimately deeply entertaining, despite the frequently disturbing twists and events. Perhaps most remarkable in Riley’s approach is that for every nightmarishly dystopian development (such as the #1 show on television being “I Want the S#*t Kicked Out Of Me” or the viciously uncomfortable racial insensitivity during Lift’s swanky drug-fueled party), there is a side-splitting line, gag, or slapstick goof to bring it all back to fun. It might be a laugh of discomfort, disbelief, or disgust, but to sit through this without cracking a smile would be a tall order. This is the majesty of Sorry To Bother You when it’s all said and done: Riley’s film is fun. At a time when exploring race (or, indeed, any of numerous difficult social issues) in film is often met with indifference, rage, or that old "movies should be for everyone" dogwhistle, Riley has done brilliantly to balance expectation and execution. He swings his satirical sword in many directions, and while it may seem a mess at times, by the end he has hit all his targets. This film is surreal, enjoyable to the last minute, and has plenty to say about nearly every unequal corner of our social situation, with vibrantly colorful costumes and an unforgettable score. It is not often that a film like Sorry To Bother You is made, but with the starpower, off-camera talent, and stylistic vibrance Riley has brought together, here’s hoping we see more like it.