Blindspotting

Blindspotting ★★★½

1. Blindspotting from the jump very loudly announces its Oakland location, a dual screen montage that both shows the juxtaposition of lifestyles, the opposite ends of wealth spectrum, as well as doubling up to emphasize some portions of Oakland. Throughout the entirety of Blindspotting, this contrast is exemplified and nothing about the film would make sense in any other context than Oakland.
2. There's a hungry energy to the film, Carlos López Estrada doesn't take his directorial feature debut lightly. The quick cuts of action, montage-like, montage-lite, feel reminiscent of early Aranofsky or what Edgar Wright did in Hot Fuzz. For such a simple story, the stylized choices really help Blindspotting stand tall. Beyond the scene to scene, the nightmare and that scene (I'm trying to be spoiler-free) both have a more music video surrealism to it, almost in the bigness of the recent Sorry To Bother You (2018).
3. Speaking of those two scenes, there's a light play between leads Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, where they casually freestyle with one another to pass time. Instead of this just being a character tick, it's with the nightmare and that scene that we see their talent shine. While characters breaking into spoken rhyme could be the cheesiest bad thing ever, it works so well here because of Diggs / Casal's skill. When Diggs lets loose, it ends up being not only impressive but an abstract examination of what exactly is happening in the story and the city as a whole.
4. Diggs and Casal's chemistry is so fun to watch. Of course they're lifelong friends and wrote the script together, their interplay is something that directors like Richard Linklater try so aggressively to capture, and here, it's as natural as can be.
5. At times Blindspotting is a bit heavy handed. The themes of red lights, green lights, green juice, are drilled into the viewer by the end of the film. That being said, the bigger issues Blindspotting deals with are done so without a statement, without a solution. Gentrification, race relations, wealth inequality, etc., are so complicated it would be unrealistic to expect answers, and instead, we have an exploration of what's happening without a happy third act filled with solutions.

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