Starring: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar
Director: Carlos López Estrada
Running Time: 95 mins
Blindspotting is an American film about a young man on probation who begins to re-evaluate the people around him, while also considering the impact of his community’s rapidly changing demographics.
This is a fantastic film. Brilliantly combining energetic, lively comedy and dynamic filmmaking with a deeply insightful, genuine and eye-opening thematic beating heart, Blindspotting is a riveting and brilliantly entertaining watch right the way through, brought together brilliantly by director Carlos López Estrada, and featuring two magnetic lead turns from Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal.
There’s a whole lot that makes Blindspotting such a great watch, and I think the most important part of that is just how entertaining the film is. While its deep themes and social commentary are entirely serious, the film doesn’t hold back from having a bit of fun from time to time, with good humour and energetic filmmaking and performances across the board.
As a result, the lively beat of the Oakland community really hits home, and rather than portraying the local community as a struggling group of people hemmed in by expanding gentrification, it’s the local community that’s by far the most vibrant and energetic of all, with more than enough passion and character to fight back against the forces that seek to bring it down.
Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal’s brilliant back-and-forth relationship as best friends is great to watch, and as deep as some of their exchanges are, so too do they go all out with ridiculous and fantastically entertaining bickering, reaffirming their spirit and drive as a symbol of the community as a whole.
And that’s where the film’s main themes come in, a riveting and eye-opening look at the nature of local identity, the impact of gentrification and development, and the struggles of reforming your life after a conviction, no matter how unfair the sentence.
Of all that, it’s the discourse on identity and the ever-vanishing local community that really makes headlines, as the film goes on the attack against ignorant and self-centred characters who play a role in the increasing gentrification of the area, not only at the expense of the locals’ livelihoods, but also their local identities.
As the film passionately shows, there isn’t a be-all-and-end-all for even one small community, and yet with the arrival of outsiders into that area who do hold stereotypes and prejudices, the locals who have been a part of that community suffer under those perceptions, and begin to see their livelihoods and community pulled apart as a result.
It’s a fascinating key theme that comes through in vivid fashion thanks to the brilliant direction as well as Diggs and Casal’s excellent performances, bringing riveting and eye-opening drama to the table in vibrant and energetic fashion.
Overall, Blindspotting is a really great watch. With a near-perfect blend of humour and drama, the film is as brilliantly entertaining as it is dramatically insightful. With dynamic and energetic directing and two excellent lead performances, there’s passion and enthralling drama wherever you look, not to mention a vivid and brilliantly modern portrayal of an ever more timely social theme, so that’s why I’m giving it a 7.9.