One of the big ongoing discussions in society right now is how police officers single out African Americans, which has led to many false arrests, injuries, and senseless deaths. This film Blindspotting, which I recently watched at Sundance, touches on this issue in a very interesting and strong way. This might just be one of the best contemporary films on race relations since Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing.
The thrilling story is set in modern-day Oakland and follows a character named Collin (Daveed Diggs) who is trying to get through the final days of his probation after being arrested for a crime that he would love nothing more than to put behind him.
These final days of probation end up being incredibly intense for Collin. As he is trying to move forward with his life and better himself, he happens to end up witnessing a police officer gun down an African American man who he was chasing in the streets. This event is a life-changing experience for Collin who is really doing his best to change his ways.
I know this movie sounds like a heavy drama, and while the movie does have its dramatic moments, it’s also filled with some great amusing comedy. That comedy mostly comes out when Collin’s life long friend Miles (Rafael Casal) is around. Miles has a knack for getting into trouble and Collin is trying so hard to stay out of trouble! There's a fun buddy-comedy relationship with these two characters, but their friendship is put to the test as Miles keeps pushing Collin to his limits.
The city of Oakland also plays a character in this story as it is going through a transformation of its own from a ghetto city into a hipster town. And as you might image, the creative team had a lot of fun playing with that.
This movie has slick and rhythmic style as it weaves together a powerful story that focuses on race and class. There’s a lot going on in this film and a lot of statements are being made about the society that we live in. This movie does a solid job of smoothly getting its points across and also staying locked in with the story that it’s telling while entertainingly giving its social commentary.
One aspect that I loved about the film was the freestyle rap that was included. Both Collin and Miles are spitting rhymes throughout the course of the film and when everything comes to a head at the film's climax, Collin delivers a freestyle rap that left me overwhelmed with emotion. It was amazing. These hip-hop techniques used in the film really amplified its characters' and the thoughts they were expressing.
As for the title, Blindspotting, it comes from a black-and-white drawing known as Rubin’s vase. It is a visual puzzle where the brain can immediately see one of two images... the outline of a vase or two faces facing each other. You can't see these images at the same time. This film takes that concept and uses it for people's inability to look past stereotypes.
The movie was co-written by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs and they did a hell of a job with the script. It was directed by Carlos López Estrada and this team brought us an amazing film that I think audiences will enjoy.
I also just want to point out that Diggs gave in incredible and moving performance and there's no doubt this movie will launch a very successful acting career.
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