Coming over like early Spike Lee meets early Kevin Smith but with a knowing Get Out meets Atalanta vibe that feels very right now, Blindspotting is one of my favourite indie films of the year.
Set in Oakland, it’s about two old high school friends Collin and Miles, one black and on probation, the other white, possibly Latino, who work for a removals firm.
They drive around the neighbourhood bemoaning the hipster influx who are gentrifying the ‘hood while trying to stay out of trouble – something Collin clearly hasn’t managed as we count the days down til his curfew and probation ends. The film’s narrative device is a ticking clock: can Collin stay clear of police for just three more days?
As soon as Miles buys a gun off a dealer/uber driver, you know there will be severe tests of this friendship, and it’s a bromance we’re invested in because Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal in the leads (they also co-scripted) are just so good, bantering, bickering and bitchin’.
Collin is pushed to a haunted breaking point when he witnesses a policeman gun down as fleeing black man, and the film plays with his mind as he sees the ghosts of hundreds of black men.
The film becomes a look at race, class, identity, sex, but it remains both funny and full of suspense, as well as rap and poetry (Diggs was an original cast member of Hamilton on Broadway and features in the TV show Black-ish). Some of the rhythms and themes recall Tarantino at his Jackie Brown best, and I also thought of Vondie Curtis Hall’s Gridlock’d – but Blindspotting (the title refers to not seeing the obvious or what’s in front of you) has a confidence and style of its own.
It feels original and fresh, very quotable and relatable. A real find.