July 19, 2018

GENRE | Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal Hustle – 'Blindspotting'

Rafael Casal Carlos López Estrada | Blindspotting

Starring co-writers/producers Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal as lifelong friends, Collin and Miles, trying to navigate the struggles of living in the changing cultural scene of Oakland, director Carlos López Estrada's small-scale drama is a revelatory treatise on racial tensions and white privilege. Blindspotting explores race through interesting artistic dynamics in the thick of topical themes of oppression and gentrification.

Diggs' performance is haunting as Estrada injects visual imagery reminiscent of PTSD and shock to reinforce his progressive ideals in a changing environment. How his and Casal's characters play off the sublimation of racial expectations is a thoughtful stand against white privilege as the black and white protagonists touch upon stereotypical role reversals.

Different female perspectives also come to play from Janina Gavankar as Collin's ex and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Miles' wife adding their own points of view on the community they live in. Their characters add a depth to the overall story of racial divide with clear perspectives on the complex roles of men in contemporary society.

Depending on your tolerance of free verse rap, the ending of the film could sharply divide your perception of the rest of the film. Thanks to indie filmmaking limitations, the characters and situations of Diggs and Casal's script must come to a head in an explosion of dramatic tension and uses words as a stand-in for violence.

Blindspotting is a blistering film that wears its heart hanging from its sleeve. Diggs and Casal make the characters, setting, and conflict so real. It has all the hallmarks of independent filmmaking, good and bad, but its topical subject matter is both light and hard with nuance varying from shocking to universal. How it makes a case against gentrification and for sharing perspectives or experiences is powerful.

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