(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 40
4 out of 5 🐙
Blindspotting dovetails well with Sorry to Bother You, another great social commentary film released in the summer of 2018. Both center on the Black American experience in the United States with racism and classicism as necessary thematic overlays.
Both are ostensibly comedies but certainly ones with edge and ones delivering a message far more serious than most dramas. It’s even more relevant today as I write this in July of 2020 with the social upheaval in the United States. Come for the incredible humor. Stay for the enlightenment.
The movie is set with only a few days of probation left for Collin (played with fire by Daveed Digs who gained fame for his roles in Hamilton). Collin is a black man who is steady, good natured, mellow, sensitive and bright. He is trying to stay out of trouble but he is spending time with his best friend Miles (played with fury by ,Rafael Casal), a hothead white male who carries himself the way a thug of any race would: bravado, lots of tattoos, lots of slang, disrespectful, etc. You could see him on an album cover. Collin and Miles are opposites in race and temperament. This isn’t to say that they don’t share cultural overlap but the fact remains that both were raised in the same neighborhood so it makes perfect sense that both would have things in common.
The film begins on a hilarious note with Collin and Miles’ friend providing them with a gun to use. They expect him to have one but he busily reveals 6 in his souped-up car that he is using for Uber. I don’t normally inlcude more than one image in my reviews but I love this car so much I have to show it:
Sadly, the plot of this movie rests on a white police officer killing an unarmed black man who is running away. Sadly, this is hardly an even that requires much imagination. Collin witnesses the shooting and is afraid to come forward because he does not want to jeopardize his probation in any way. People who have not spent time in prison could judge him for this but they should not.
The climactic scene occurs when Collin finds the police officer who shot the unarmed black man and holds a gun on him while he explodes his rage in a blistering freestyle rap that shakes the officer. The same officer who coldly stared at Collin after killing an unarmed man looks distraught. But it’s not just from the real fear of a man pointing a gun at him. When we enter the scene, it’s clear that the officer was already a wreck. It’s good that he feels severe pain for being a murderer but it’s certainly not good enough. I won’t tell you how the scene ends but it is the logical culmination of a series of events that have pushed Collin to the edge.
Throughout the movie, Miles flouts the law, disrespects people, shows no patience, lets his own child find a loaded gun, and he walks free with no record. Collin was jailed on a questionable charge and doesn’t share any of the terrible behaviors that Miles does but he is the criminal. Miles attacks a fellow party goer and pulls a gun, not realizing that he is jeopardizing Collin’s probation. Collin confronts him about his privilege and while I did have sympathy for Miles’ belief that he is not appropriating culture, that this is who he feels he is, his ignorance of his privilege in the face of all the evidence is something that he needed to be faced with.
Blindspotting was a banger of a movie when it was released in 2018. It takes on a whole new level of importance in 2020.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)