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Blindspotting – Movie Review

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Blindspotting – Movie Review

Rating: B+ (Very Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy VVS Films

A few weeks ago, Sorry to Bother You portrayed one version of Oakland and now Blindspotting presents its own interpretation of the city and its citizens. With Daveed Diggs co-writing and starring, the film manages to balance the thematic ideas it wants to portray, alongside little comedic scenes involving a mover waiting for his probation to end. Director Carlos Lopez Estrada carefully navigates the tone of the piece, touching on tricky subjects like police violence and the relationships between races. It is ultimately Diggs who elevates the proceedings with a powerful and genuine performance that should hopefully be remembered at the end of the year.

Blindspotting quickly establishes Diggs’s protagonist Collin as a sympathetic person, trying to enter the next step in his life and move away from what put him in prison in the first place. There is a genuine camaraderie between Collin and his long-time white friend Miles, although the film eventually shows the flaws brimming underneath the surface of this relationship. Most of their scenes together are humourous conversations about the rise of gentrification with some obvious commentary on hipster culture. That Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote the film together likely played a role in the strong chemistry between the two. One of the highlights in Blindspotting comes from a funny appearance by Wayne Knight as a artsy photographer. A scene in a hair salon also provides laughs, yet cleverly includes a bit of foreshadowing for later on.

The more serious subject matter hits with the appropriate shock. The filmmakers touch on the topic of police violence towards African-Americans and uses it to develop Collin and his nervousness surrounding his probation. Blindspotting also comments on the difference between how Collin is able to live his life, compared to Miles. As much as Miles sees himself akin to a black man, his skin colour and how he’s viewed by society makes that impossible. Estrada directs the film, aware of where the audience’s mind will immediately go and that creates tension in a number of scenes. One scene that abruptly goes from a light conversation to a frightening confrontation deserves the gasps it’s sure to receive.

Estrada, Diggs and Casal play with narrative in clever ways, too. A few nightmare scenes are effectively done and there’s a flashback scene told from a third party’s point-of-view that shifts between comedic and horrifying. Diggs carries a lot of Blindspotting through his excellent lead performance. He manages to show both the internal and external conflicts of his character. This is a movie where Diggs shows his chops as both a charming comedic lead and an emotional dramatic actor. In addition to Casal, he also shares some strong scenes with Janina Gavankar. However, his most powerful scene comes from a confrontation that spirals in an unexpected way. Daveed Diggs is an actor whose star will definitely rise very soon.

Blindspotting also marks a promising feature directing debut for Carlos Lopez Estrada as he showcases not only a strong visual eye, but also the ability to balance multiple tones and touch on real human issues. The commentary is hard to miss in Blindspotting, but this film would not have worked nearly as well if it were subtle. Estrada succeeds in jumping from one scene to the next without losing the pacing and the character development is earned. Walking in, the title is a complete mystery. Once the end credits roll, it all makes sense and the filmmakers leave us with a lot of ideas to think over.


Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison