Blindspotting is a 2018 American comedy-drama film written, produced by and starring Daveed Diggs & Rafael Casal. Carlos López Estrada directs while Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Wayne Knight also star. The plot follows a parolee with three days left on his sentence, only to have him witness a police shooting that threatens to ruin a lifelong friendship.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Carlos López Estrada|
|Music by||Michael Yezerski|
|Edited by||Gabriel Fleming|
|Box office||$3.9 million|
Casal and Diggs, childhood friends in real-life, wrote the screenplay in the mid-2000s, initially to speak for the city of Oakland which they felt was often misrepresented in film. After years of setbacks, the pair's schedules finally allowed them to make the film, with principal photography beginning in June 2017.
Two childhood friends, convicted felon Collin (Daveed Diggs) and troublemaker Miles (Rafael Casal) are trying to get through the last three days of Collin's year-long probation. Collin lives in a probation house and struggles with trying to get his life in order and put his criminal past behind him, while the short-tempered and rowdy Miles searches for trouble and embraces the "street" lifestyle. One night while waiting anxiously for a red light to change in order to get home for his 11 p.m. curfew, Collin witnesses a white police officer (Ethan Embry) gun down a black civilian, an incident that haunts Collin over the next few days. Miles purchases a gun which ends up in the hands of his young son Sean, an incident which horrifies Sean's mother Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones). Collin begins to realize that Miles' recklessness will likely land him into trouble, and the two are set on an explosive collision course.
- Daveed Diggs as Collin Hoskins, a former convicted felon on his last three days of probation. He appears friendly, laid-back, and likable but he will be triggered to brutal violence and threat when pushed pass the line.
- Rafael Casal as Miles - Collin's short-tempered and reckless best friend. The two have been close since childhood.
- Janina Gavankar as Val, A desk secretary and Collin's love interest. According to Miles, she never visited him while in prison. He recommends to Collin he end his relationship with Miles because he could get him in trouble.
- Jasmine Cephas Jones as Ashley, Miles' wife and mother of Sean.
- Ethan Embry as Officer Molina
- Tisha Campbell-Martin as Mama Liz
- Utkarsh Ambudkar as Rin
- Wayne Knight as Patrick
- Kevin Carroll as James
- Lance Cameron Holloway as Curtis 'Cuttie' Cuttworth
The screenplay for Blindspotting was written by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs over a period of nine years. Daveed, who grew up in Oakland, and Rafael, who grew up in bordering Berkeley, California, felt that cinematic portrayals of the San Francisco Bay Area have constantly "missed something". They wanted to draw attention to the culture, community, and sense of "heightened reality" that shape life in Oakland. The film addresses issues of gentrification, police violence, and racism.
Diggs and Casal said about 90% of the film is a result of the first draft, with various rewrites done as filming took place to update it to reflect modern times. Due to Diggs being constantly busy performing in Hamilton, the pair had to delay the film for an extended period of time. Principal photography finally began in June 2017 and lasted for 22 days, filming around Oakland.
Blindspotting grossed $332,500 in its opening weekend from 14 locations, including in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Oakland, for a $23,750 average per theater. It expanded to 513 theaters in its second weekend and made $1.3 million.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 93% based on 101 reviews, and an average rating of 7.9/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "As timely as it is overall impactful, Blindspotting blends buddy comedy with seething social commentary, and rises on the strength of Daveed Diggs' powerful performance." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Sarah Melton from Exclaim! gave the film a mixed review, saying, "From experimental visuals and dream sequences to incorporating rap and hip-hop throughout, Blindspotting takes risks with style and content, to varying success."
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