My first introduction to Daveed Diggs’ wide array of talent was in Hamilton when he sang and danced his heart out as Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. He blew me away! I mean, who could resist that smiling face singing “What’d I Miss”? And when I heard at Sundance that he had written a movie, I was sold.
Blindspotting tells the story of two young men. Collin (Daveed Diggs) and his troublesome best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), are movers that watch closely as the neighborhoods of Oakland, California, are gentrified to a trendy, hipster-esque, crowd. Collin is on his last few days of probation. One night he witnesses a young black man get shot by a white police officer, causing him to miss his curfew. After this event, Collin and Miles struggle to keep their friendship afloat as this evolving Oakland uncovers the differences that the two of them face.
Much like the improvised raps throughout, this movie flows seamlessly between humor and drama. It really takes a moment, when needed, to pause and reflect on the importance of its story while also keeping its audience wildly entertained. Diggs and Casal have a perfect chemistry together. Their energy radiates off-screen and you can really see how much this story means to them. The two of them have been best friends for years, and this movie was a passion project that was ten years in the making.
Blindspotting is a thrilling take on race relations in this day and age. I was floored. Not only did the acting impress me, but the story and themes present throughout were incredibly relevant. In the film, the term “blindspotting” is described as this: when a situation or an image can be interpreted in two different ways, but you can only see one of the interpretations. This is something that we experience every day. When watching the movie, you come to understand both sides of the story. We can see the terror Collin feels as a young black man in America, especially within the line “you monsters got me feeling like a monster in my own town”, and we can see Miles struggling with self-identity and the inability to accept this newer and trendier version of Oakland that is unlike the one he grew up in and worked so hard to fit into. It’s something that’s happening right before our very eyes, and this movie showed both interpretations.
Another key part of this movie is how poetic it is. Casal and Diggs both have backgrounds in poetry and music, and this film uses that as a character all its own in confronting the changes they experience. It’s their connection, their voice. This is shown in its full effect at the end of the film when Diggs confronts the officer but uses verse instead of violence, which provides its own striking power.
I now have a growing list of favorite movies that I've seen so far in 2018, and this shot straight to the top. Movies like this NEED support, so go find it at your local theater and show it some love!