Show times: 6:30 & 8:30 pm
Directed by: Carlos Lopez Estrada
Cast: Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs
Running Time: 95 minutes
Cinetopia Film Festival: Director’s Award; Nashville Film Festival: Best Original Song; Palm Springs International Film Festival: Directors to Watch Award.
“A funny and relevant new Oakland-set buddy dramedy….about two friends, one white, one black.”—Leslie Katz, San Francisco Examiner
The debut feature from Carlos López Estrada, Blindspotting is written by its two stars – Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs (Broadway’s Hamilton) –and set in Oakland, California, from which both men hail. It’s a raw, personal story that combines biting humour and stark violence to showcase the sharp racial and class inequalities in many America’s urban centers. Painful to watch, at times, it is also very, very funny and a work of gloriously intelligent cinema.
The movie opens with Collin (Diggs) counting down the three days left on his probation in a halfway house. He works for a moving company, firing humourous barbs back and forth with best friend Miles (Casal) as they do their pick-ups. Collin is black, Miles white, though both are from the same Oakland ‘hood. Collin seeks to re-establish himself as a trustworthy member of society. Miles is his support system, but also a potential hindrance to growth.
Blindspotting (the term means the inability to see what is right in front of you) follows Collin and Miles as they struggle to define themselves in a universe that already has them pegged as losers. Their comic misadventures, often buoyant and a delight to behold, are always one step away from tragedy. As Collin’s probation countdown inches towards zero, it is unclear how the story will end, and on which genre it will settle.
And that is the great strength of the film: we’re never sure where it will go, and so expect the unexpected. The powerful performances provide ample support to the twisting narrative which sees a cathartic conclusion. With director López Estrada’s additional fine flourishes, the movie becomes a magnificent meditation on the state of the nation, and a profoundly rewarding viewing experience.