If you found yourself 35 years of age, with a Grammy in your right hand and a Tony in the left, what would you do?  Most people would just throw in the towel and quit while they were ahead, but Daveed Diggs decided to go off and co-write/co-star in what is shaping up to be one of the greatest feature films of the 2018 festival season: Blindspotting.

Blindspotting is the story of Collin (Daveed Diggs), a man who is desperately trying to get through his last few days of probation without a hitch.  The problem is that Colin’s best friend Miles (Rafael Casal) has a certain penchant for finding trouble, and he always seems to find a way to drag Colin into the fold.  While Colin counts down the days left until freedom, he finds himself in a constant struggle against the pressures put on him buy both society and his friendship with Mils.  In the end, it’s not just his freedom that is at risk, but his sanity as well.

It should come as no surprise to find that Blindspotting has a distinct music video feel to it—after all, director Carlos López Estrada made his name shooting videos for everyone from the Goo Goo Dolls to Passion Pit.  López Estrada’s heavy background in the music industry made him a perfect fit for this film’s stylistic barrage in-your-face images.  He infuses every shot with a special kind of vibrancy, bringing the film’s few musical numbers to life with stunning gravitas.

However this film isn’t just a debut for director Carlos López Estrada, it’s also the first writing credit for Daveed Diggs, and the big screen debut of Rafael Casal.  With all this fresh blood, you would expect to find a film wrought with flaws, yet Blindspotting is easily the top of its class.  It’s a film with stunning visuals, turbulent drama, and top-notch acting. Casal in particular delivers an engagingly charismatic performance that should make him the subject of quite a bit of buzz in casting offices for the foreseeable future.

The film’s mind-blowing musical numbers and its unapologetic dissection of social and racial issues will undoubtedly cause audiences to draw comparisons to Hamilton and Get Out!.  However, while this film may share some creative elements with those projects, it is in no way a pastiche. Blindspotting exudes originality and screams its message in a voice that demands to be heard. It’s a film that not only deserves to be experienced, but to be felt and meditated on.

 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Blindspotting
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Ty Cooper lives in Asia and spends most his time drifting through the streets of Taiwan imagining he is Shotaro Kaneda in Akira. Once a year he takes on the unyielding snow storm that is Sundance and attempts to capture a glimpse at what the upcoming year in film has to offer. Ty first started writing for HeyUGuys after SXSW in 2010.