Director: Carlos López Estrada
Talent: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal
Released: 5 October
Oakland, California, and its three days until the end of probation for Colin (Diggs). He’s a new man just trying to keep his head down, keep working and see his time out. But doesn’t life always have a way of interfering? Well, life and his volatile best friend Miles (Casal).
If you were keeping abreast of American current affairs, Blindspotting may already be on your radar as a topical and very relevant film at this moment in time. In truth, it’d be as relevant at any point in the last few decades. It uses a unique white/black bromance and sparky dialogue to weigh in on the issues of gun control and police brutality.
Diggs flips the stereotypical ex-con on its head. Here he is well spoken, calm and trying to be all he can be one day at a time. The inclusion of Casal’s Miles as his white best friend is a nice change and his is a fun, fast talking, jumpy character who acts before he thinks, the opposite of Diggs. The contrast works, and there are a number of very tightly written scenes that push the film alone while also making some interesting points about race and gentrification in America.
The title itself alludes to the mistaken adage that of ‘what you see is what you get.’ Both protagonists are quite complex and both are judged differently by their colour for a variety of reasons. Though Diggs’ existence on the street is fraught with the possibility of arrest or worse, Rafael too as a white boy born into a mostly black neighbourhood has his own social anxieties and issues. Both struggle throughout to escape the presupposed roles society has dumped on them from birth.
The last third of the film is a little too contrived and convenient. It tries to wind things up by coming full circle back to everything that came before and does so in a manner some will appreciate, while others will cringe. As a whole, Blindspotting is a well crafted and timely production that America badly needs.
Words: Shane O’Reilly