Some films will amaze you.
Some movies will bring about laughter while others cause tears of joy.
Very few releases possess the ability to bring out a wide range of emotion, but when they do, it’s indicative of a fantastic film.
Then there’s that rare instance when a movie is so captivating, it touches the soul of its audience lingering indefinitely afterward. Blindspotting is a scintillating unapologetic look at the splintering of American culture as it strips the identity of inner-city families replacing those with gross generalizations. Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs deftly crafted a tale reflective of the American experience in 2018 for minorities.
Blindspotting shines a light on what afflicts our country in hopes of sparking change which will benefit families for years to come. Children shouldn’t grow up having to learn surrendering techniques to the police just because they are an African American.
Blindspotting centers around Collin (Daveed Diggs) and his final three days of probation. Collin is desperate for a new beginning but his best friend from childhood, Miles (Rafael Casal) and his behavior is making it extremely hard for him. While Collin is trying to stay clean, Miles is doing things like buying a handgun from Dez (Jon Chaffin). On the way home from work, Collin witnesses a police shooting which shakes him to his core. For the first time, these two friends have to grapple with their perceived identities and the impact those have. Will Collin always be just a felon? Why does Miles feel the need to be perceived as tough? How will the shifting dynamics of their neighborhood impact their struggle?
Director Carlos López Estrada had a great feel for how best to visually get the message of Blindspotting across. Most of the settings were tightly confined areas giving the film an intimate feel. The intimacy even heightens the tension as audiences will feel so close to what is unfolding on screen. The pacing of the film was terrific. Estrada’s shining moment in the film had to the scene when Miles, Ashley, and Collin find Sean playing with the revolver his father (Miles) just bought. This is perhaps the slowest paced scene of the whole film and placing Sean dead center in the room was perfect. Miles, Ashley, Collin are overcome with fear as they slowly inch towards him, but Sean is mesmerized by the chamber of the gun. Sometimes the pacing and blocking of the scene are even more important than the actual words spoken.
Robby Baumgartner’s cinematography highlighted both the beauty of Oakland and the ugliness stemming from the splintering of American culture. Blindspotting had numerous moments where the camera panned through the eclectic town capturing the intricate set of buildings that give the city its flavor. Baumgartner also made use of handheld cameras to get those more intimate moments. My favorite shot of the film was how they captured the initial police shooting. By placing the camera behind the truck they were able to share the action taking place outside and Collin’s reaction inside without changing perspective. We see the police shooting in the side mirror of a car, bringing the audience closer to this pivotal moment.
Diggs and Casal each give a career-defining performance full of passion that will leave theatergoers stunned. Blindspotting is the type of film audiences will be drawn to and awards voters love.
The last time I felt this confident about a film’s potential for impact was right after seeing Get Out. You need to see Blindspotting when it is playing in your area.