The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, take a fresh tour of Oakland, California, with this week’s review of Blindspotting (2018). Filmed in 2017 in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhoods of West Oakland, Blindspotting stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal as lifelong friends who wrestle with personal challenges and societal ills as they try to come to grips with the changes that are transforming their home turf. Bursting with angst at a variety of levels, the film manages to blend timeless themes and traditional pacing with contemporary spurts of spoken word verse, rap and vivid cinematography.
Directed by Carlos López Estrada, the film delivers a series of emotional moments by synthesizing “ripped from the headlines” elements of racially motivated police brutality with a beautifully balanced, almost Shakespearean plot progression. The film also stars Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Ethan Embry.