Blindspotting

Blindspotting ★★★★

An exceptional film that isn't nearly the earnest message movie it could easily have become. In fact, one of the biggest surprises is how broadly comic it's willing to go, often just moments after or before something lean and tense. The free-for-all of tones shouldn't work, but something in Carlos López Estrada's direction of Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal's screenplay makes it feel extremely true to the characters and their world. Looks like a perfectly grounded slice of realism, but the flourishes of style (this has some of the best "city at night" cinematography I have ever seen in my life) and the operatic tinge to the best scenes between Diggs and Casal's mismatched, racially imbalanced best friends give it the feel of something much wilder and evocative.

One big problem: López Estrada has a first-timer's enthusiastic embrace of some very cheesy transitions (only some, though), and a general enthusiasm for cheap cinematic tricks that make the thing feel goofier than it ought to be, especially in the first third. And one small concern: even as opera, I'm not sure that the second climax works, or if it feels too damn contrived, and I'm definitely sure that it feels too much like an afterthought after the first climax.