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Blu-ray Review: Blindspotting

November 20, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

With just three days left in his probation, Collin (Daveed Diggs) is trying desperately to stay on the straight and narrow so that he doesn’t end up back in prison, but his unstable friend Miles (Rafael Casal) keeps threatening to pull him back down.

This is the basic plot line of Blindspotting, a gripping film that is set against backdrop of an increasingly gentrified neighbourhood in Oakland, California. Things get more complicated when Collin witnesses a young black man get shot and killed by a white police officer (Ethan Embry), an event that will continue to haunt him as he struggles to make it through the next few days.

Directed by Carlos López Estrada, with a screenplay that was co-written by Diggs and Casal, Blindspotting walks a tricky tonal balance between dark comedy and searing drama, with the countdown to the end of Collin’s probation adding a sort of ticking clock mechanism to the film that gives it inherent suspense. The story deals with a lot of timely and complex themes, and does so in a way that feels fresh and unique, all set to a soundtrack of rap songs that provide a compelling sense of rhythm to the film.

By focusing on two young men who are trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of crime, Blindspotting is able to show how things such as poverty, racial tensions, and police violence effect two very different individuals who happen to be caught in the middle of it. Collin is black, and trying desperately to move past the stereotype that comes with being an ex-convict. Miles is white, but wears a grill and has adopted the most stereotypical aspects of street culture as a way to fit in in Oakland, making it hard for him to be a good role model for the mixed race son (Ziggy Baitinger) that he is raising with his girlfriend Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones).

Collin and Miles work together at a moving company, which forces them to deal with a variety of clients, and allows them to see firsthand how their neighbourhood is being rapidly remade to the degree that those who were born there no longer recognize it, which is fuelling the anger that is felt by Miles, and causing him to lash out. The film is mainly worth seeing for the incredible performances of Diggs and Casal, who have electric chemistry together and maintain the film’s live-wire energy as the simmering tension reaches a boiling point during the compelling climax, the centrepiece of which is a stunning confrontation scene that Diggs delivers entirely in rhyme.

The Blu-ray also includes a commentary track with the director and another with the actors/writers, the two featurettes Making Blindspotting and A Director’s Diary, as well as a selection of deleted scenes and soundbites.

Blindspotting is a VVS Films release. It’s 95 minutes and rated 14A.

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