Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture – what’s new and old in entertainment.
Every year has it’s most anticipated movies- this year just saw the release of Mission Impossible-Fallout, and still has Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns, and the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. But every year also has its surprise gems. And one of those for 2018 is in theaters now, and it’s called Blindspotting.
Blindspotting was written by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, two real-life childhood friends who originally wrote the movie years ago. After Diggs rose to national prominence, winning a Tony award for his turn as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton on Broadway and Casal gained fame with his poetry, the two friends finally got to make their long-in-gestation passion project a reality.
The movie weaves rap, a visceral dream sequence, and intimate knowledge of Oakland and the Bay Area to tell the story of gentrification in American cities, recidivism, and the disturbing trend of black men being killed by police. Diggs and Casal also star in the film- Diggs plays a black man who was recently released from prison, while Casal plays his white friend, who is always by his side.
For a movie that only runs 95 minutes long, Blindspotting packs a lot in. The movie explores the racial dynamics of their friendship and their city, and how imprisonment and national headlines can affect friends and families in America’s urban centers.
Blindspotting is a drama and a comedy, and both are strengths. When the mood is light, the movie clicks as a buddy-comedy of two movers in the Bay Area, but when it takes its turns, it can be shocking and disturbing, showing how quickly things can go terribly wrong.
Blindspotting was not a movie on my radar when the year began. It wasn’t really on my radar until it was playing at the theater down the street from my house and I randomly decided to kill a couple of hours by going to see it. But that decision was a good one, and when all is said and done, Blindspotting will certainly rank among my favorite films of the year.
I’m Evan Rook.