Matthew at the Movies: Blindspotting (2018)

Blindspotting belongs in the same canonized place with Do the Right Thing and Boyz in the Hood as exceptional films that deal with race and gentrification. It ranks first in my top films of 2018 and ninth in my favorite films of the 2010s.

The film, directed by Carlos López Estrada, written by and starring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, follows Collin (Diggs), a man on probation, as he tries to re-evaluate his relationship with Miles (Casal) after witnessing a police shooting.

The way Diggs and Casal’s script deals with so many issues (police brutality, masculinity, racism, and so much more) in less than 100 minutes is astounding. The direction and editing are fantastic and engaging. The atmosphere is equally warm and comfortable and horrific and shocking. The cast is superb, as each actor plays their role to perfection.

Most of the film follows Collin and Miles, so the film hinges on the believability of their friendship. Luckily, Diggs and Casal make it natural and believable as it turns out they are lifelong best friends in real life. Their chemistry together is undeniable and their banter with each other is fantastic.

I want to highlight Miles for a second. Miles is a white man who grew up in a poor neighborhood in Oakland, he’s married to a Black woman, and they have a child together. Miles talks and acts like everyone he knew growing up, which, to be blunt, were the other Black kids he was friends with.

Is Miles appropriating their behavior and mannerisms? Is he really as “Black” as the other people in his neighborhood? One of the film’s main themes is gentrification, as a bunch of upper-middle class White people are moving into these poor, urban places and “improving” them.

These “hipsters,” as Miles calls them, are moving into these neighborhoods and trying to act cool and chill, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. Is Miles just the same as the “hipsters?” Or is Miles different as he actually grew up in these urban areas?

What is Black and what is White?

This question plays into the reason of why the film’s called Blindspotting. In one scene, a character is talking about Rubin’s face, an optical illusion where you either see two faces or a vase, they nicknamed it “blindspotting” and Collins asks why:

“‘Cause it’s all about how you can look at something and there can be another thing there that you aren’t seeing so you got a blind spot.”

When you see White, you don’t see Black.

When you see Black, you don’t see White.

It’s all about perception.

Blindspotting is a challenging watch. It forces you to see perceive reality in a different way, and those films are the best kind, the films that force you the change the way you think. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece. (5/5)

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