Blindspotting ★★★★½

Successfully oscillating between the various tones on display here would be massively impressive from a veteran director. The fact that this is Carlos López Estrada's first feature makes it doubly so.

The tension in terror crafted during the police segments here is awe inspiring. This film is a pressure cooker and a comedy at the same damn time. Masterful, hilarious, and thought provoking.

The performances are excellent, the material is poignant and while it's blatantly political and social it never feels hamfisted, and the end result is a smooth, lyrical, hilarious film that sticks to your ribs.

The film begs comparison to Do The Right Thing, and those comparisons are warranted. Estrada's debut does indeed have the fire and style of early era Spike Lee but it's clear this filmmaker is forging his own path. He'll be one to watch.

̶i̶ ̶g̶o̶t̶t̶a̶ ̶s̶a̶y̶ ̶t̶h̶o̶u̶g̶h̶,̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶k̶i̶n̶d̶a̶ ̶m̶a̶k̶e̶s̶ ̶m̶e̶ ̶m̶i̶s̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶o̶l̶d̶ ̶S̶p̶i̶k̶e̶.̶ ̶

Seriously though, this movie is close to being the perfect capsule of the way things are right now in a way that really does call back to when Lee was fiery and pissed off and at the top of his game.

I hate the idea of telling a filmmaker what they should or should not be making, and I am no fan of forced narratives or forced competition between films, especially those made by minorities and about experiences I have only glimpsed from the sidelines, but...

I'm going to come out and say it: This is the movie I wanted Blackkklansman to be.

This is the nuanced, passionate, angry, and emotional movie about this moment in time that I wanted and that I felt Lee did not deliver with his awkward "both sides" reworking of history. This is the movie about being caught between things you can't control and a world on the brink of change that I felt we were going to get from Lee and then didn't.

Blindspotting is more than that though, it's not just someone riffing on Lee with more grace than his recent work, it is very much its own film and it is singular in its approach.

Tonal disparity made whole by a firm grip on structure, simple and strong style, and a deft hand. It knows when it has to pull back, and it knows when things are too tense for anything but unflinching directness.

I am both pictures. See both pictures.