As a white man, there is a word I will not say. The word is probably obvious – it is a pejorative with a specific meaning, but also a term with contested meanings within racial discourse. Carlos López Estrada’s Blindspotting explores this term as part of its dramatisation of race relations in contemporary America. The film emphasises the reality that it is never easy being black in the USA, especially at the current political climate. While many might appreciate this concept, Blindspotting follows the excellent BlacKkKlansman as another timely film about race in modern America, which expresses how appalling it is to live under the oppression of racial prejudice. Collin (Daveed Diggs) is a convicted felon three days from the end of his probation. Collin is focused on following the rules of his probation carefully while dealing with his ex-girlfriend, mother and stepfather, and with his volatile best friend and work colleague, Miles (Rafael Casal). Collin’s resolve to stay on the right side of the law becomes more complicated when he witnesses a police shooting of a black man. From this chance encounter, Blindspotting follows a ripple effect of interpersonal dramas that intertwine with broad socio-political concerns. Estrada deftly charts a series of conflicts, both in the immediate story and through judicious flashbacks that explain how Collin got to where he is. Racial tensions battle against personal loyalties; smart humour gives way to sudden violence; aerial shots of the gridlike city are juxtaposed with with close-ups of startled faces. Collin’s attempts to devise rap songs show how he makes sense of the world, and his regular fumbling over words and rhythm demonstrates how hard that sense is to come by. Interestingly, the clearest moments are also the most unnerving, indicating that nothing cuts through confusion better than anger and fear. Therefore, in a world of confusion, prejudice and blindspots, cyclical violence manifests as an escape, a cathartic release and even the suggestion of redemption. Yet rather than slipping into a disturbing glorification of toxic violent masculinity or (like the recent Obey) a depressing, deterministic depiction of black identity, Blindspotting never presents violence as anything other than a terrifying choice that is nevertheless still a choice. Therefore, it takes a responsible and compelling position towards problems with no easy solution, while also being a vibrant and at times amusing tale of social stratification and the struggle to go straight.
[…] Yardie used music and location as an intricate and organic part of its story. A great surprise was Blindspotting, that offered thrills and laughs in equal measure, interweaving its politics with its narrative […]