Blindspotting Comedy

Review: ‘Blindspotting’ is an Eye-Opening and Engaging Look at Some Harsh Realities

July 27, 2018Ferdosa Abdi

An exciting and badass portrait of the lives lived in the shadows of a gentrified Oakland, Blindspotting is a film that does not shy away from harsh realities, tackling issues such as racism, police brutality, prejudice and gentrification. From the minds of Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, this is one of those rare movies that accurately depicts a real crisis in America, but in a package that defies the traditional Oscar-bait model for dramas.

Colin (Diggs) is a recently incarcerated felon serving the remaining three days of his probation, which is constantly jeopardized by his best friend, Miles (Casal). One evening on his way home, Colin stops at a red light where he witnesses the unprovoked police shooting of a black man, and the incident rattles Colin, who is eager to be a free man. Over the course of the next three days, Colin must confront the harsh realities of Oakland, and to do so he must overcome his blind spots, which include Miles, his community, and even himself.

Blindspotting is unapologetically angry — angry about gentrification, discrimination, prejudice, white privilege, and the injustice of the justice system. Diggs and Casal's script is very personal, but the themes they explore speak to the current climate in not just Oakland, but all of North America. The story doesn't provide concrete answers or solutions; rather, it offers a cathartic experience to unleash those feelings and say what needs to be said. The persona of a black thug is frequently attributed to black men based on their skin color, and it is not often that a film comes along where the main character reflects on how he has played into the prejudices that hold him back. Ultimately, Colin must prove that he isn't what society sees — that he is more than just a walking stereotype

Diggs' standout performance goes above and beyond to showcase the struggle of black men today, and this story would not have done as well without his intense and raw performance. Diggs is tasked with being the emotional core of the movie, whereas Casal is allowed to be pompous in his portrayal of an ignorant and reckless white man, but both do so much for the film by allowing their passion for the project, this story and their community to shine through their characters. Diggs does a fabulous job showing how Colin is increasingly terrified and resentful of his predicament, while Casal gives a nuanced portrayal of man struggling to find his identity in a community that rejects him, and the eventual confrontation between their two characters is explosive and telling of the frustrations both have allowed to build up inside them.

It is but one of many explosive moments, all of which are perfectly orchestrated by director Carlos López Estrada, who does an excellent job showcasing a divided Oakland and the struggle for domination, As one side struggles to hold onto the culture and resist this modern-day colonization, the other is eager to be rid of it, and this push-and-pull scenario that Blindspotting depicts is not only authentic, but builds tension throughout the entire movie. That said, it is the sharp contrast between the film's humor and its darker moments that gives gives the story's emotional peaks so much intensity. Colin and Miles are not living in a world devoid of culture, love and fun, and it would be dishonest not to showcase the genuine lightheartedness of their friendship, as well as their community.

Cinema is entertainment, but it is also a vital means of education — a space where people can depict their truths in ways that honor how they see the world and how the world sees them. A riveting, heart-pounding drama that will keep at the edge of your seat from beginning to end, Blindspotting is entertainment that explores themes that will provoke necessary discussions and action, and it will linger in your mind long after the credits have rolled.

Blindspotting releases July 27th, 2018 from VVS Films. The film has an MPAA rating of R for language throughout, some brutal violence, sexual references and drug use. Its runtime is 1 hr. 35 min.

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