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film review

Title: Blindspotting

Directed by: Carlos Lopez Estrada

Written by: Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs

Starring: Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs

Classification: 14A; 95 minutes


3.5 out of 4 stars
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Lifelong friends Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and star in Blindspotting, a timely and wildly entertaining story about the intersection of race and class, set against the backdrop of a rapidly gentrifying Oakland, Calif.

Although Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs are long-time members of the spoken-word and live-performance scene, watching their new film Blindspotting, you get the sense they would make great wrestlers, too. The darkly funny drama, which was written by and stars the pair, throws about three dozen ideas into its cinematic ring and then attempts to grapple every one down to the mat. Racism, gentrification, police brutality, start-up culture, corporate branding, social media, the justice system … Blindspotting is eager to take them all on with style and wit, and it succeeds more often than not. The film follows the lives of two ne’er-do-wells in Oakland, Calif., as one (Diggs, who won a Tony Award for his role as Lafayette/Jefferson in Broadway’s Hamilton) nears the end of parole and the other (Casal) struggles to control a mean temper. Like Sorry to Bother You’s Boots Riley, director Carlos Lopez Estrada captures Oakland in a hyper-stylized light, while Diggs offers the film a charming and grounded presence. It is only when Diggs and Casal near the end of the film − including a too-convenient-by-half encounter with a cop − that the effort’s ambition in creating a treatise on all of Western society’s ills begins to crack. But until then, Blindspotting possesses enough flair, passion and sweat to put up one hell of a fight.

Blindspotting opens July 27 in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal

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