Carlos Lopez Estrada, Daveed Diggs, and Rafael Casal (the director and co-writers respectively) took all that is wrong with the world, from something as inconsequential as $10 juice (!!) to something as critical as the unjust killing of black men in America at the hands of our police, and combined them all to create the phenomenal Blindspotting. The film doesn’t just talk about these issues, it presents them through real-life situations where every harmful consequence is clearly visible. There were moments that had me at the edge of my seat, as well as scenes that had me belly laughing, both of which were based in empathy. While certain parts of the plot might sound melodramatic or too unrealistic on paper, the outstanding acting and calculated cinematography solidify a mildly surreal tone, which allows the story to go in expected places on occasion without feeling totally out of place and still retaining that relatability that is so crucial to the film.


The spellbinding actors in Blindspotting are are the main reason the film works so well. Diggs stars as Collin, a reserved-yet-pleasant convicted felon who is just trying to keep his head down for his last three days on probation, which proves rather difficult considering the company he keeps. Rafael Casal plays Collin’s long-time best friend Miles, a passionate and volatile character who is fed up with gentrification and hipsters, though he might have more in common with them than he realizes. Diggs and Casal are the perfect match, as they compliment each other’s strengths and build off each other’s performances to create something truly special; I imagine writing the screenplay together contributed to the palpable chemistry between the co-stars.

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Blindspotting is masterfully crafted, with the filmmakers seemingly perfecting the art of setup and payoff, as well as exposition (a necessary evil in movies.) All within the first five minutes I was aware of numerous setups that would come back later on in the film to cause trouble (such as Collin only having three days left on probation, Miles recklessly buying a gun, etc.). However, to my pleasant surprise, all of the payoffs subverted my expectations, and instead of going with the obvious choices, the filmmakers decided to choose more complicated and realistic (and therefore more interesting) resolutions. Exposition is usually a dull, yet integral, part of movies, where some character explains important contextual information in great detail to another character who doesn’t know what’s going on, when in actuality the information is being explained for the audience’s sake. To my surprise, Blindspotting figured out how to make this process of exposition entertaining. The funniest scene in the entire film, which is about two-thirds of the way through, introduces an entirely new character, Rin (Utkarsh Ambudkar,) who proceeds to turn what would’ve been a standard expositional story about Collin into a hilarious one-man competition to one-up his own jokes. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Ambudkar in the future, as should you.

Blindspotting possesses the kinetic energy of Trainspotting and hints ofTwin Peaks surreality while very clearly creating its own unique universe. While operating in a dreamlike manner, their world is still affected by the same issues that we are today in the real world, however these issues are just presented in more interesting and coincidental ways. Blindspotting is depressingly real one moment, and sidesplittingly funny the next — not quite a nightmare, but certainly not a good dream.

Starring: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Wayne Knight, Ziggy Baitinger

Director: Carlos Lopez Estrada

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Rating: R for language throughout, some brutal violence, sexual references and drug use

Release Date: July 20, 2018 (Limited,) July 27, 2018 (Wide)

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