At the rate the country is going through right now, we kind of films that need to be out right at the moment is showing the problems that it’s facing. If nothing gonna find a voice this summer alone, there’s a chance that the Blindspotting should be understood in a perfect way that can’t be ignored in future discussions. Even if it wasn’t the type of movie that won’t make an impact on me, you’ll still be surprised.
Collin (Daveed Diggs) and Miles (Rafael Casal, Def Poetry Jam) have been friends ever since they were kids. Since Collin is an ex-con on probation and only having three days left until he can start a new beginning with himself in Oakland, Cali., he’s trying to do what he can to stay out of trouble until he witnesses a police officer shooting an unarmed African-American on the streets.
Considering that this premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Blindspotting was one of the films that caught my interest because of its engaging premise and who’s involved in it. Diggs has already been on my radar for a while just waiting for him to be the lead since his breakout Tony-winning role in Hamilton. What’s interesting is that he and his longtime friend Casal co-produced and co-wrote the screenplay together to represents not only Oakland in the way that was misinterpreted to others, but its message on race and the gentrification of the city that’s been spreading around in the area. If that’s the case, then Blindspotting brings some laughs and experiencing the balance of friendship in between.
Directed by Carlos López Estrada, known for helming music videos, his directorial debut marks a great occasion for a man who does a terrific job at capturing the heart of the city without feeling overblown with feeling boring. See it in the same vein as Do the Right Thing. The fact that the script was written almost ten years to make is incredible with its honest storytelling that never fell flat with what Diggs and Casal are trying to convey. And since both of them haven’t written a screenplay before, it’s close to being one of the year’s best when it comes to originality. It also makes light of how friends see each other in different ways after the incident that might cause them to be the way they are.
Being best friends in real life, that really worked in here and Diggs and Casal’s chemistry with each other is the perfect highlight in every scene they share with each other. Working as furniture movers while having some freestyle raps to keep themselves busy while getting stuff done, it’s a job that has its merits, but safe enough to get out. Casal doesn’t have a lot of credits under his name, and that’s a shame because he’s pretty talented bringing a layered performance that’s funny, but also concerning as the film continues.
Miles, on the other hand, is pretty much the one friend who gets himself into trouble. Though he’s funny and cares enough for his wife Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones) and their young son, he’s the kind of guy that will have a problem over the slightest of problems. He even has a beef with the friendly relationship with Collin and his ex-girlfriend Val (Janina Gavankar, Sleepy Hollow), who always have tendencies between Miles and doesn’t necessarily trust him.
Many news stories that have been read or watch every time is relating to violence involving police brutality is just sickening. For African- Americans or any colored race, we should be worried that police are gonna be killing them for no reason, especially the case for what happened to Trayvon Martin six years ago. That’s the poison that Collin feels after the incident and something he didn’t do or might because of Miles. For a screenplay that handles the discussion about race tension, especially in Oakland, it’s important enough to know what’s real.
The one criticism that Blindspotting has is that the tone sometimes doesn’t mesh well in some scenes when it’s being funny and then switches to serious mode a little quickly without a heads up. It surprised me since I didn’t not that much about the story and caught the trailer once when it came out. But it was all leading up to a moment between Collin and someone else brought the tension up a new level in the entire film involving his spoken word rap that’s captivating.
There’s always that one movie that’s no relevant than ever, and Blindspotting represents our current climate. Since this one of these smaller movies that not many people have heard of (four of us in the theater), this shouldn’t be missed since the explores the kind of problems that America seems to be facing in today’s society and it’s important to check it out when the year ends. Hopefully, it might get some love at the Independent Film Spirit Awards.
Blindspotting tackled relevant social issues with an original film able to combine it’s fair share of comedic and dramatic moments all thanks to the leads and their script. Grade: B+
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