Thursday, August 16, 2018

[Review] Blindspotting

Blindspotting is such an exuberant, operatic, multi-dimensional, diverse, and commendably urgent tale that it feels like it should have a title that's more memorable and punchier than Blindspotting. It's part buddy comedy, and part topical (and harrowing) look at inner city chaos, race relations, gentrification, and police brutality.

Set in the heart of Oakland, California, we meet Collin (Daveed Diggs of Hamilton fame) as he's freshly released from a prison sentence (well, for the most part). It's not long before he hits up the party scene with his best friend Miles (Rafael Casal). Everything is all good until Collin witnesses an unarmed black man get shot and killed by a cop. From there, Collin wrestles with his aching conscience and ponders his newfound perspective as he tries to move forward with his life.

Directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada, Blindspotting is as funny and entertaining as at is potent and tragic. There's shades of 2015's frenetic Dope here, echoes of Ryan Coogler's similar-themed Fruitvale Station, as well as a dose of this year's layered and head-scratching hybrid Sorry to Bother You (of course not quite as bonkers). The film's colorful visual flair and vibrant lighting of the settings greatly captures the liveliness of the city, and there's something very poetic about the narrative -- it gets darker and darker as it goes, especially as Collin's trauma comes to the surface. The film's two stars, Diggs and Casal, also penned the screenplay together, so there's a remarkable sense of investment and chemistry within their roles. Diggs in particular gives a tour de force performance. It's spunky, highly emotional, and full of turmoil (the film's climactic scene is one for the ages). And yes, he does get to show off some of his rapping skills.

Blindspotting is a rich experience that will make you laugh, make you think, and make your heart sink along the way. So don't let this film slip past you.

( 8/10 )

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