Blindspotting (2018)

Blindspotting (2018)Director: Carlos López Estrada
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Starring: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Wayne Knight, Kevin Carroll

With three days left on his probation, Collin (Daveed Diggs) is looking to keep his head down, and take the chance he has for a new beginning. Working as a mover with his trouble-making best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), they're left watching as the neighbourhood they grew up in changes to become a trendy spot in the Bay Area. While stopped at a red light one night, Collin witnesses a black man get gunned down by a white police officer, an incident which leaves him haunted.

For his feature film debut, Carlos López Estrada brings a vibrant direction to this absolutely fierce piece of powerful filmmaking. Working off a screenplay from Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal (also the films stars), the backdrop tackles numerous timely topics in a gripping way, such as identity, gentrification, perceptions, and police violence, while focusing on a long term friendship going through rough patches. This is wonderfully brought alive by the pair, selling their friendship which has long endured, while embodying their personal problems as Collin and Miles. The latter could've easily been depicted as a caricature, but Casal ensures he's brought alive with nuance and care. He's embraced the culture of the area he's grown up in, but from the outside, is looked upon as somebody committing cultural appropriation. He has the gift of the gab and wishes to do right by his family, but is also quite a volatile figure, which serves as a point of contention.

While Collin is trying to keep out of trouble and rebuild his life, he can't help but be haunted by the horrific act he saw, and Diggs gets that across extremely well. He expresses himself through freestyle rap, a method which seems entertaining at first, but becomes a genius way of allowing Collin to vent his frustrations with the landscape around him, while ratcheting up the tension and getting unaccustomed viewers used to the poetry of the language. This all leads up to the pent up rage Collin's been harbouring throughout explodes, for one final scene of freestyle rap. What occurs is an utterly captivating moment to be in awe about, and truly one of the most tense cinematic moments released recently.

A powerful and absorbing piece of work, Blindspotting tackles timely subjects with great skill and care. Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal and Carlos López Estrada have banded together to deliver something utterly unforgettable, with a lot to say, and this deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.