Blindspotting

Editor’s note: spoilers

Collin Hoskins (Daveed Diggs) is in the final three days of a year long probation. Collin served a couple of months for an offence as embarrassing as it was brutal and is working on putting his life back together. His North star, for better or for worse, is Miles Turner (Rafael Casal). They’re best friends but the two men have wildly different attitudes.

Collin — with so little left on his probation — is cautious, hyper aware, perpetually worried.

Miles buys a gun from a mutual friend at a party, Collin in tow. In an Uber, driven by a mutual friend, and which has at least five other guns scattered around.

Despite their differences, the two men have a clear, deep bond. But when Collin witnesses a police shooting, his growing terror and rage begins to bubble over. as every one of their recent life choices come back to haunt them.

Written by Diggs and Casal, Blindspotting is a movie built on the idea of what you see not being what you get. A fact made clear a single scene. Collin, played with a combination of screen burning charm and absolute fragility by Diggs, is on the phone to ex-girlfriend Val. Val is a psychology student and receptionist at Commander Moving, where the two men work. She explains about the concept of Blindspotting, a name coined by Collin for one of the conditions she’s studying. In the space of perhaps 10 lines, the movie lays out with devastating grace the ideas of institutionalized racism, internalized racism and how hard either are to shift. It’s but one example of the movies’ precise, elegant, devastating cuts, and the one the final act orbits.

Everyone we see — Collin and Miles especially — are caught between impossible forces, unable to do anything but hold. Even their jobs as movers require them to be little more than the hands of the gentrifiers who don’t want to get dirty cleaning up the houses they’ve bought out from under locals. The latter half of the movie especially makes this fundamental terror and rage at what’s being done to Bay Area communities overt, leading to a brutal fistfight between Miles and a party guest for absolutely no right reason at all. Miles sees an out-of-towner where his opponent is a local. His opponent sees a white, performative hipster where Miles is a man who has spent his life trying to embody The Town.

It doesn’t matter that neither is right. It matters that two men with barely repressed rage embrace their preconceptions long enough to work that rage out. The simmering tensions of the movie, bubbling over into an absolute beat down. One made all the more horrifying by the fact Miles uses the same gun he had to take out of his son’s hands minutes earlier to reassert what he thinks is his manhood on the party guests.

All of this sounds grim as hell, right? Well it is and it should be. The movie deals with the police’s inability to not murder black people, toxic masculinity, the gentrification of the Bay Area, the challenges of going straight, the consequences of murder, the reality of being a black man in modern America AND why green juice costs 10 bucks with the same unflinching and furious eye.

This is a movie with a lot of clever, uncomfortable things to say, each of them delivered with the force of thought and precision of diction that it’s two leading men are justifiably known for. The ending is a combination punch of scenes which put us inside Collin’s head, and Collins’ rage and fear, in a way that sears the screen.

It also throws its core of the movie into the spotlight — these two friends. Look at that photo, look at the facial expressions and how instantly you see these two as a double act. Blindspotting is consistently very, very funny and that’s entirely down to these two, falling, getting back up, looking after each other, calling each other out, selling what they can when they can and surviving the only way they can in the end.

With honesty. And on occasion, a 10 buck bottle of green juice.

Blindspotting is available to buy on bluray and digital platforms now, and is absolutely worth your time.

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