Director: Carlos López Estrada
Writers: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal
Starring: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry
One of the most powerful and poignant films of last year tells the quiet but remarkable story of a lifelong friendship set within the context of the USA's stark cultural divide. In the final days of his year long probation, Colin (Daveed Diggs) witnesses the unlawful police shooting of a young black man, after which his friendship with Miles (Rafael Casal) is challenged and tested as they consider their place within an ever-changing social climate.
Truthfully, the shooting is simply the catalyst which ignites a rich study of the film's two main characters, rather than being a central aspect of the plot. Despite its robust and compelling story, Blindspotting is certainly a performance led film, with two of staggering quality at its helm. Colin and Miles sit at the forefront of this film while the rest of the story unfolds around them. Daveed submits a thoughtful portrayal of Colin, regretful of his past and quietly angry at his place in the world, while Casal's Miles desperately clings to a persona which no longer serves him as it needs to. Through their eyes we are given a keen and vital perspective of identity, social disparity and criminality.
Diggs' Colin is arguably the film's lead, but it is the powerful and, at times, explosive chemistry between him and Miles which holds the film's power; scenes with them together are as magnetic as those they do solo, if not more so, particularly during the film's final third. A fantastically crisp and organic dialogue is coupled with a similarly natural comfortability between the two men - it is no surprise to find that the film was written by them together.
Blindspotting is topical and courageous, happily shining a light on the social impact of class and prejudice on America's cultural minorities, and it manages to do this without being overly grim or foreboding; instead it feels hopeful and positive, and is a story told with humour at its heart. Yes, it highlights many'a modern societal issue, but does so with a bright, positive demeanour rather than with an air of pessimism.
In one line: Perfectly paced and executed, Blindspotting is highly resonant and agreeable exploration of a modern societal landscape, localised within the nuances of a close friendship.