Illustration by Anya Chytrowski
There is something amazing about a film that manages to tackle current and serious issues while maintaining comedic overtones. Blindspotting perfectly executed this. It discusses police brutality and the gentrification of Oakland, California, whilst portraying the lively personalities and complexities of all the characters. Screenplay writers Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are both Berkeley High School (BHS) alumni, and due to their roots here it is clear that no other duo could write such an honest story about the Bay Area. Blindspotting follows Collin, who is only three days from getting off parole, and his friend Miles throughout their everyday lives. After seeing a young black man shot dead by a police officer, Collin is reminded of the danger that he is put in by the police. He struggles to keep himself out of trouble while still maintaining his friendship with Miles, who is violent and oblivious to the consequences his actions have on Collin, because of his white skin.
“Blindspotting” is a term that refers to the optical illusion of a picture that has two images, but your brain can only process one at a time. This is a theme throughout the movie. The hipsters who have moved into Oakland can’t see the damage of gentrification that is a direct effect of their rising population. The same analogy can be used for Miles and Collin’s relationship. When people look at them, they see Miles’ tough attitude and rash decisions, associating it with Collin despite his efforts to change. As the movie progresses we see Miles’ growing frustration towards the gentrification of his home town. We also see Miles’ neglect to see his white male privilege; he holds the privilege of not needing to change. The first time we see them, Miles is purchasing a gun, ignoring Collin who repeatedly asks him not to. This is the first of many times that Miles’ actions have the potential to hurt Collin. If the gun were to be found, Collin’s parole would be broken. However, the likelihood of Miles being punished to the extent of Collin is low.
The movie surrounds the relationship between Collin and Miles, which serves to portray a deeper message. This movie aims to shine light on grave issues faced by the Bay Area: gentrification and police brutality. Their relationship is so strenuous because these issues are affecting them in different ways. By using their relationship to shine light on these serious topics, the audience is able to comprehend multiple points of view.
Blindspotting goes on to address both cultural appropriation and the offensive actions of many of the new residents, behaving in a way they think they need to just because they live in Oakland. Collin and Miles work as movers, and one scene shows a woman describing her plans to tear down everything but the bones of her house and build it back up. She tells them to throw out everything inside, and as Collin looks around he finds a photo album of the family who used to live there. This scene shows the carelessness adopted by many residents who have moved into Oakland, and don’t care about the history of the house or the people who came before them. The woman in the aforementioned scene plans to have her house built back up as a fancy, new house that stands out against all the other old victorian style homes.
The movie begins with a split screen of Oakland. One side shows the new money, gentrified neighborhood, while the other shows the old Oakland and the houses of the people who have lived there long before unicycles and rollerblades ever touched the streets. The cinematography of the movie was incredible.
Blindspotting has so many assets to it, it addresses serious issues, at the same time a comedic light shines through, and on top of that the movie is visually stunning.
Any one of these features alone would make a movie good, but this movie has a combination of all of these things thats so beautifully put together that it makes the movie outstanding.