Writers & stars Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal and director Carlos López Estrada have created a masterpiece.
There’s a movie that was released in 2018 that deals with race relations and stars one of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars. It centers around the friendship of a black man and a white man. It touches on the issues with institutional racism. It’s funny at times, but also incredibly serious. It’s something that may make you cry or may open your eyes to how you view the world and the way we treat each other. It’s a film that flew a bit under the radar, but has gotten some attention thanks to Awards season. No, I’m not talking about Green Book. I’m referring to Blindspotting, the film written by and starring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, directed by Carlos López Estrada.
Blindspotting centers on Collin (Diggs), a young black man that is 3 days away from finishing a one-year parole sentence after finishing his jail time. Collin is living at a halfway house, where curfew is 11 PM. He has to maintain a job, stay within county lines, never miss his curfew, and stay out of illegal activity until the three days are over. Then he’s a free man and able to do whatever he pleases–within the law, mind you. The problem is that his best friend Miles (Casal), who he spends most of his time with, is constantly doing things that could get Collin immediately sent back into prison. Collin begins to reassess their friendship as he gets closer and closer to his freedom.
Everything about this film works, and it continuously gives 100% from start to finish. The performances by Diggs and Casal are award-worthy, and the fact that Diggs’ name hasn’t been brought up significantly in discussions on lead actor awards is a travesty. The final 15-20 minutes of this film features some of the best acting I have seen this year, and it is the type of work that deserves to be recognized. On top of that, the script by Diggs and Casal is consistently on point. It changes from witty to insightful to heartbreaking at the drop of a hat but never gives us whiplash.
Blindspotting, like many films released this year, is highlighted by its honest and realistic nature. One of the main points of the film deals with Collin having seen a young black man gunned down by a police officer. The event haunts him day and night and, coupled with the reservations over his friendship with Miles, leads to a perfect buildup of tension throughout the film. While the film does follow some tropes, it does so in a way that is fitting and feels completely realistic. The film could easily play into melodramatic elements of the story. Instead, it shows how the melodramatic aspects of real life affect us and, in turn, how we decide to change or adjust to those circumstances.
Without giving away too much, the climax of the film dives into the reality of the subject matter and themes of the story. It asks why black men are constantly accused, convicted, and killed over things that they’re assumed to be part of while white men, who have actually committed crimes, can get by scot-free. While it would be easy to just say “it’s because of racism,” the film goes deeper than that and ends with a message that not only says, “This is why these things happen,” but also, “This is fucked up” without ever shoving it down your throat. It comes to a natural point, where it’s able to say, “You get this. You know why this happens based on what we’re showing you and living in this world. Being afraid to walk the sidewalks of my hometown isn’t fair.” It’s powerful and beautiful, and in the end, is why this film is one of the best films released this year.
Blindspotting is currently available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital.