Blindspotting, shown at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, was one of the festival’s most talked-about films. Although I wasn’t initially interested in the film, I decided to give it a chance and was hit by a surprise I never expected. I became one of the many people who loved Blindspotting, whether it was foreign websites, critics, or comments on movie sites. Before watching Carlos López Estrada’s poetic film, I was saying that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was the film of the year, but everything changed after watching Blindspotting, especially with its finale. Could there be such a thing as Shakespearean rap, and could it really be applied? It could.
Briefly about the plot… Collin has finished his time in prison and is nearing the end of his one-year probation. In three days, he will officially be a free man. He must spend these three days calmly and without incident. Of course, Murphy’s laws never let him go, and he bumps into all sorts of trouble in these three days. He tries to get out of all of it with good intentions because of his white friend Miles. However, what they experience in these three days will change both Collin’s and Miles’ lives forever.
Blindspotting may seem like a comedy film on the surface, but it is a powerful film containing hefty, profound stories. Although it is very close to the style of absurd comedy, it cannot be called a comedy. The reason it resembles absurd comedy is that it is divided into pieces through the script. The film consists of several parts, but in the end, everything leads us toward a finale. Although it tries to make us laugh at times, what it actually wants to convey is not something to laugh at.
So what does Blindspotting actually tell? Blindspotting, with the scientific explanation, is that an area where a person’s view is obstructed. That is, not being able to see or overlook something. The film is based precisely on this detail. What we overlook. However, a blind spot is a point that you cannot see even if you want to. The film focuses on what we cannot see, what we cannot speak up about, and what we cannot resist. Not being able to see that your closest friend has a problem, not being able to give good people a chance just because of their past, and everything that you are afraid of or cannot speak up about. These are our actual blind spots.
During the movie, Collin constantly falls into trouble due to Murphy’s Law and other reasons. He can’t pass through a red light even when the road is empty because of an evacuation, which leads to him being chased by the police and witnessing the killing of a black man by the police. Despite all this, he cannot speak out against his closest friend, Miles, who carries a gun and gets into fights frequently. Collin is unable to stop Miles because he is his best friend and his blind spot. Although black people are portrayed as troublesome and quarrelsome, the only person killed in the movie is black, and all the people causing trouble and carrying guns are white.
The movie never slows down its pace but raises it at times. The scene of the police killing someone, the child holding a gun, the fight scene in the bar, Miles’ fight scene, Collin’s phone conversation with Val, and Collin’s confrontation with Miles are all moments where the tempo suddenly rises. These scenes are compelling and impactful both in terms of writing and acting. However, just when the movie seems to wrap everything up, it takes Collin to a point where this sequence alone is enough for me to give the film an Oscar.
Collin meets with the exact police officer who haunts his dreams in the house where he has come to move his belongings. However, the police officer is not in uniform and doesn’t have his gun with him. Seeing Collin in front of him, the officer looks at him with fearful eyes, just as he did on their first encounter. At this point, we are tense, thinking that Collin could say some harsh words and kill or hurt the officer, jeopardizing his conditional release. But instead of doing that, Collin decides to rap. And not just any rap, but a powerful, Shakespearean-like rap that expresses his thoughts and what he wants to say.
As he raps, the police officer begins to cry, but Collin doesn’t harm him. Collin only raps and becomes not only his own voice but also the voice of everyone who has experienced the same problems as him. He rebels and speaks out for everyone. The choice of rap here is remarkable. The reason for this is hidden in the lyrics:
“You only take us seriously when we rap.”
Considering that rap was born as a means of rebellion and reflecting the voice of the streets, predominantly performed by black people, we can say that it was the best choice of communication.
Blindspotting is a powerful and thought-provoking film that tackles important social and racial issues through the eyes of two best friends in Oakland. The film’s director Carlos López Estrada and star, Daveed Diggs, co-wrote the screenplay, originally intending for a more classic Shakespearean approach but ultimately opting for rap music as the most logical choice.
The film features many absurd moments, such as make-believe games, musical dance numbers, dubbing, LSD-like dreams, and dramatic scenes that suddenly disappear from reality. These stylistic choices, combined with the fragmented storytelling, make Blindspotting a rollercoaster of emotions that will keep you engaged for its entire 95-minute runtime.
Blindspotting is not only a film for black people, but for everyone who wants to have a voice and make a change. Despite its heavy social and political messages, the film doesn’t feel convoluted or preachy thanks to López Estrada’s clever direction and the strong performances by the cast.
In short, Blindspotting is a powerful and deep film that sheds light on hidden truths that are right in front of us, but that we often fail to see. It’s a film that should be watched and shared with others. The film has been receiving rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, with more than half of the reviews on IMDB giving it a perfect score of 10. Many reviewers have specifically praised the film’s intelligence and creativity.
Cast & Crew
director: Carlos López Estrada
writers: Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs
starring: Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs
USA | 2018 | 95 MINUTES |