With three days left before his probation ends, Oakland resident Collin (Daveed Diggs) makes a conscious effort to finish up his time with no hiccups. But it's hard when his fiery and charismatic best friend Miles (Rafael Casal) isn't looking for the same. A love letter to the city of Oakland, warts and all, Blindspotting proves an electrifying story, and one of the best this year has to offer yet.
As the scribes, co-producers and stars, Diggs and Casal reveal a changing environment alongside a deep yet toxic friendship. Collin always seems to be the voice of reason to Miles' outbursts, but as such, he generally becomes the recipient of backlash. It's often amusing, but mostly at the expense of the brutal undertones of their environment, exposing ugliness through a necessary dose of sugar. While Collin privately struggles, Miles tries to raise a child with his girlfriend, Ashley, amazingly played by TV mainstay Jasmine Cephas Jones. Janina Gavankar (of the canceled show Sleepy Hollow) also makes an impression as Val—at first glance just Collin's crush, but someone who proves much deeper. Onetime teen heartthrob Ethan Embry shows up, unexpectedly, as the police officer we know too well these days, destroying Collin's psyche with his reckless actions.
Director Carlos Lopez Estrada knows this is Diggs and Casal's show, and his visual style, spearheaded through cinematographer Robby Baumgartner, gives a lively playground for the actors to play in. And they do, wholeheartedly. He might have been too generous at times, however, and could have reminded his stars that less is sometimes more—but, given the final product, it's a minor complaint.
Within three days, we see two boys make the final transition into men: Men with regrets, anxieties, weaknesses, passions, hopes and dreams; examples of the men we see killed on the news all too frequently, but men who identify and pursue a different kind of home in a city they've survived their entire lives.
+Incredible performances, musical and visual sequences; the message
Directed by Estrade
With Diggs, Casal, Jones and Gavankar
Violet Crown, R, 95 min.