Summit Entertainment, in association with Codeblack Films and Snoot Entertainment, presents Blindspotting. Colin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. Colin and his trouble-making, childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers and are forced to watch their old neighborhood become a trendy spot in the rapidly gentrifying Bay Area.
When a life-altering event, involving a white cop shooting an unarmed black man, causes Colin to miss his mandatory curfew, Colin and Miles struggle to maintain their friendship as the changing social landscape exposes their differences. Blindspotting is without a doubt one of the best films to be released this summer and one that is sure to raise conversation.
Based on the trailers for Blindspotting, I was expecting a straightforward comedy with dramatic overtones. While Blindspotting has some generally funny moments, it takes a drastic turn when Colin witnesses the shooting. First-time director Carlos Lopez Estrada handles the murder with a heartbreaking nuance and it’s a reminder of the current world we are living in.
Daveed Diggs, who I’ve been a fan for a while now, is a revelation in his first lead role. While he’s always displayed a natural comedic flair and the gift of gab, with his role as Colin, Diggs does fantastic dramatic work. There were moments in the film where I felt Colin’s pain as a former felon trying to live right. There are two scenes in the movie that are Oscar-worthy moments from Diggs, in my opinion. The first is when Colin explains to Miles that while they come from the same community, Miles will never understand the fear Colin has when it comes to seeing a police officer. The second scene involves Colin confronting the white cop, where Colin uses spoken word freestyle to vent his frustration to the policeman. Diggs commands the screen during these moments as a seasoned veteran.
As Miles, Rafael Casal is also a revelation. Casal provides excellent comic relief in numerous scenes, however, similar to Daveed Diggs he also does well with dramatic work. Miles is watching the community he grew up in change and does not know how to handle it. Casal’s portrayal of Miles shows that no matter what your skin color is, you can be affected by gentrification.
For a debut script, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal have written an almost autobiographical tale. The duo’s real-life friendship comes across in their characters of Colin and Miles. I look forward to their next project. I also look forward to what first time director Carlos Lopez Estrada is going to do next. From his impressive opening sequences, which showcase the beauty of the city of Oakland, to his closing, Estrada has made one hell of a debut.
My only complaint with Blindspotting is the studio’s decision to release the film in the summertime. At a time when racial profiling appears to be a daily news story, Blindspotting is an eye-opening work of art that deserves an audience. Sadly, it’s a small indie film that could get lost in the summer popcorn movie season.
Successfully mixing race and class issues with hip-hop overtones, Blindspotting is a film that I highly recommend. I encourage moviegoers to take a break from this summer’s big-budget films. Instead, opt for Blindspotting, an artistic, socially-conscious film.
Final Grade: A-