Today: July 17, 2024

Blindspotting

Blindspotting is that optical illusion of looking at an image long enough to find it morphs into something else. You know the ones, is it two faces or a vase, is it a duck or a rabbit? Like those illusions the film incarnation is never one thing, it is a film that will challenge, a film that feels and a film that, more than anything, will have you smiling, crying and hoping in equal measure.

Oakland, California and Collin (Daveed Diggs) has three days left of his year long parol. Determined to achieve his freedom he wants to stay on the straight and narrow. But his best friend Miles (Rafael Casal) just wants to be the bad man in a city in the throes of change but still rife with violence.

There are few films if any like Blindspotting. It is a film that touches on so many key issues in modern day America. It is a critique but also a dissection of the current socio-political sentiments of the country. From Black Lives Matter, gun crime right through to the gentrification of a city leaving the long-time residents conflicted and isolated in their identity.

All the while the film examines a friendship, the history of that comradery and how these two characters navigate a changing world. One is looking to leave behind childish ways, the other desperately struggling to find an identity in this messed up world. It’s sometimes hard hitting, it’s sometimes so honest you wonder if this hasn’t been based off a series of anthropology papers. But, and it is here where Blindspotting is almost singularly unique in what it does, Blindspotting is delicately and poignantly funny.

This is the kind of film Spike Lee makes, that powerful, brutal, tough yet melting vulnerable portrait of people defined by their geography and history of which they had no say or power over. This is the closest thing to Do The Right Thing modern cinema has seen, it’s the kind of film that should be studied, and poured over. But more than anything a film that demands to be seen by as wider audience as possible.

The script is pin-point accurate, never veering through its various tonal shifts but gently merging into them with grace. Carlos López Estrada’s direction manages to be both gritty and slapstick, it’s a feature film debut which marks him out as a bonafide talent.

In the two leads roles Diggs and Casal are mesmerising. Casal gives Miles a boiling point you feel is always near to explosive but there is a warm comedy to his delivery that lends a sense of loyalty immediately lovable. It helps that he and Diggs have been friends themselves for years. Diggs’ portrayal as Collins is simply brilliant, sliding from sad-sack to brotherly, romantic to ferocious all the while never losing sight of the steely determination to do it right and stay reformed.

Lyrical, poetic, funny and smile-inducingly brilliant, Blindspotting leaps out of the blindspot of bland cinema to be one of the best films in recent memory.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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WIN! Blindspotting on Blu-ray

BLINDSPOTTING  Digital Download 28th January and DVD & Blu-ray 4th