This review was originally part of our coverage for the 2023 SXSW Film Festival.
In 2018, writer-director Boots Riley unleashed his debut feature Sorry to Bother You upon the world. It was a bold reintroduction for the artist while still never feeling like it was ever compromising. Overflowing with sly humor, it was the type of movie that took no prisoners and wasn’t afraid to come at the cruel contradictions of capitalism. It flirted with a more surreal darkness before diving in headfirst, kicking you in the chest with the force of a horse, and leaving you reeling in the best way possible. Whether you want to call it magical realism or satirical science fiction, it was a fresh vision that immediately made Riley one to watch. His new project, the series I’m a Virgo, could not have been more worth the wait. It is not just a triumphant return for him, but a showcase for actor Jharrel Jerome, who steps into some enormous shoes without ever missing a beat. Big on ambition yet precisely focused, it is one of those works that promises to get people talking just as Riley did five years ago. In the first episodes shown at SXSW, there is so much vibrancy and life on display already.