Saturday, July 28, 2018

Blindspotting - Review

In the span of a month, audiences will be given two feature debuts concerning social commentaries in the city of Oakland that are really well received, in spite of featuring a plethora of ideas and themes. The first, Sorry to Bother You, takes a far more surreal approach, while the second, Blindspotting, gets to the root of society’s issues through a realistic lens as it juggles everything it wants to say.

Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. His bond with his volatile best friend soon gets tested when Collin sees a police officer shoot a suspect in the back during a chase through the streets.

The intentions of Blindspotting are noble and in the right place, however, it could've used some fine tuning. Elements work in various places, but the film seems to be taking on too many things at once without following through on the bigger topics. Racism, gentrification and police brutality are just a few of the many themes explored here that are effective more often than not.

Essentially, Blindspotting lacks a bit of focus. While diving into these timely themes is important, the film, and first-time director Carlos L√≥pez Estrada, can’t seem to determine which is the most important for this story. The film is still inherently compelling and paced well, but a more concise commentary could’ve elevated to greater heights. 

And though the themes may be slightly scattered, the thing that makes up for it is the performances from Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs. Casal gets the benefit of playing the live wire that is Miles, Collin’s childhood friend, capitalizing on a sense of craziness and unpredictability to almost steal the film out from under Diggs. Diggs, of Hamilton fame, gets to really show off his acting chops here, particularly in a coincidental confrontation near the end of the film that is one of the more tense and powerful scenes of 2018. 

Blindspotting is an impactful and well-timed look at these social issues, even if it can be slightly scattered in its execution. A pair of dynamite performances from Casal and Diggs elevated the material tremendously, that features some excellent dramatic moments intermixed with comedic ones, even if the journey there is a bit contrived. Regardless of a few minor issues, Blindspotting is a film worthy of everyone’s attention in this current climate.

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