Review is from the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival
Collin (Daveed Diggs) and Miles (Rafael Casal) have been friends since eleven years old, both having grown up on the tough streets of Oakland, CA. Collin is three days from finishing his parole, having spent time in prison for a felony. Collin lives in a halfway house run by an iron-fisted man who lives for catching anyone breaking the rules in the house. Collin and Miles work for a moving company, with Collin’s life complicated by the dispatcher, is his ex and love of his life, Val (Janina Gavankar). It is very evident that Collin is still in love with Val, but Val is cool to any advance that he makes.
Miles is married to Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones), and they have a young son named Sean (Ziggy Baitinger). Miles enjoys spending time with Miles and his family, especially Sean, who is always playing with. Collin is just trying to keep his head down and get through his parole, but it’s complicated by the friends he hangs out with. When we first see Collin in Oakland, he is in a car with Miles and another buddy. Collin is in the back seat of a two-door tricked out car. Miles discovers that their friend that owns the car has not one but six guns in the car. Collin desperately wants out of the car, but his two friends would rather torture Collin by playing with the guns. Collin is saved with the car owner gets a Uber call and makes Collin and Miles get out of the car.
Miles and Collin are best buds, making up rap songs as they walk through their neighborhood. Miles is a hot head and is always looking for a confrontation. Both men are known by their look; Miles wears a gold grill over his bottom teeth when he isn’t working. Collin has dreadlocks of which he is quite proud of. The lifelong friends obviously care about each other, but the question is will the reckless Miles get Collin into trouble before his parole is up? Collin is the level-headed of the two, and there is one significant difference between the two men; Collin is black, and Miles is white, and that could get Collin into trouble. If Miles starts something, it’s more than likely in this neighborhood that the police will, at the least, blame Collin for the trouble, and at the worst, kill him for it.
David Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote the script and spent ten years trying to get this film made and man, oh, man, am I glad they got it made because it is a spectacular piece of filmmaking. The film covers a great many topics; how some friendships aren’t always good for both people, the growing problem of police too easily killing black men in the streets, and the gentrification of Collin’s and Miles neighborhood. It’s not lost on the two men that their jobs are the result of the hipsters moving into their community.
Collin very earlier on in the film witnesses the killing of an unarmed black man by a police officer who shoots four bullets into the man as the man shouts “don’t shoot.’ Collin, as anyone would, is shaken to his core and throughout the film, he has flashbacks to the shooting, raising his paranoia.
Daveed Diggs, who played Jefferson on Broadway in Hamilton, is impressive as the moody Collin. There is a moment near the end of the film that he takes over the movie and just blows you away. Diggs has star power, and it shows throughout the film. There is excellent chemistry between Diggs and Casel, especially in the scenes where they rap together. The best scenes in the movie are the ones with Diggs and Janina Gavankar who plays the love interest of Collin. Their scenes are moving as Diggs plays the man who made a mistake and Gavankar is the woman who isn’t ready to forgive him for that mistake.
Blindspotting is a film that tackles today’s issues with heart and soul. Funny at times and equally moving, the film touches on a number of aspects of modern life in an urban city that is trying to define itself. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
For more of Mike’s reviews and interviews click here