Blindspotting (2018) Review: Clear Cut Cinema
As I write this review, I hesitate to begin any sort of synopsis for the plot. It’s one of those rare instances where truly I feel, the less you know about the film ‘Blindspotting’, the better. You can already guess how I feel about the film (It’s in the thumbnail), but to put it simply, this is the best film of the year so far. It demands your attention. Go see it now. On with the review.
The film opens on the main character Collin, played by Daveed Diggs. He waits patiently to hear the conditions of this parole release. All he has to do is make it one year, with no complications, and he’ll once again be a free man. Fast forward 11 months and 27 days, Collin has only 3 days to go before he can get the sweet taste of freedom. This being a movie, those end up being 3 of the hardest days of his life. Along with Collin is his community, and his peers. Most of the film is spent watching him work alongside his friend Miles played by Rafael Casal. Miles is a bit of a hothead and if anyone can keep Collin on the bad side of the law, it’s Miles, the caucasian, tatted, grill sporting, chain wearing, loud mouth who looks like if Macklemore took to thrift shopping as his bonafide lifestyle.
At the heart of the film? Oakland California. The film opens with snapshots of the city, rich with culture and a vibrancy that feels entirely unique. Characters in the film can’t go more than 5 minutes without waxing poetically about the charms of their home. Sometimes, with literal poems. Anyone familiar with Daveed’s abilities in Hamilton will be glad to hear the raptor in his element. The film doesn’t stop in its tracks for a grand musical number or intense choreography, and instead, feels natural and organic throughout.
What’s special about ‘Blindspotting’ is not just the story it tells, but also how it chooses to tell it. The film uses distinct and interesting transitions, shots, and camera tricks to give the film an unyielding energy. It’s wildly creative in how it chooses to convey information to the viewer. That translates to the sound design, the set design, and of course, the script, which is wickedly smart in how it presents itself.
The dialogue in the film is at times, relentlessly funny, but also incredibly gritty. It’s a case of a film not comfortable with mere entertainment. Make no mistake, ‘Blindspotting’ will take you to school at not a moment’s notice. It deals, frankly and honestly, with hard to tackle issues like gun control, police brutality, gentrification, colourism, cultural appropriation, and the language we use to discuss them with.
It’s a wonder to even attempt such a feat, but to handle it so deftly, is the true accomplishment. ‘Blindspotting’ talks about so much, so well, that it makes it look easy.
To me, film has always been the most precious medium. It’s the most beloved and accessible form of art, that carries with it the budget, and the ability to tell stories that matter on a scale unlike any other. Everyone loves the movies. So when a film is able to entertain, yet educate, to inspire, and also inform, it truly does feel like magic. ‘Blindspotting’ is everything that film should be. It’s a movie that uses humour, intriguing visuals, magnetic sound design, and a rhythmic script, to tell you a story that matters, about characters that feel real, situations that are harrowingly grounded, and is absolutely poignant about every bit of its elements. I feel spoiled for having seen it.