Blindspotting (2018)
July 26, 2018 5:38 AM - Subscribe

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

Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers, and when Collin witnesses a police shooting, the two men’s friendship is tested as they grapple with identity and their changed realities in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood they grew up in.
posted by Mavri (8 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I saw this last night and absolutely loved it. It's got such chutzpah, taking on a lot in one movie (gentrification, police violence, re-entry, white privilege). But it's successful--funny, intense, scary, moving. Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are real talents.
posted by Mavri at 6:11 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

It's an amazing movie and everyone should see it as soon as they can. Also, probably not a coincidence, but immediately after seeing it in DC the other day I went to dinner at Oyamel and midway through the meal President Obama walked out of the room in the back and passed right by my table. I'm not saying the same will happen after you see it, but might as well find out...
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:12 PM on July 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

It was a great movie, and a strange experience to see places I spend time in represented faithfully on film. I'm reminded, though, of the criticism of The Lives of Others, which held that the sympathetic Stasi spy in that movie could never have existed. I feel the same about the police officer here: we're inclined to give him some credit for his post facto grief, but I can't honestly imagine a white OPD officer not taking advantage of any of the times when Collin was looking back at Miles during that confrontation to grab his gun, and failing that I can't imagine a white OPD officer not marshaling his colleagues to take Collin down right after he left the house. I know that the script has as text that Miles calls out the officer about his supposed lack of intent to murder a black man, but that was that character getting off easy. We never see even basic remorse from actual OPD murderers here in real life, and so to see this movie ratify the extremely remote possibility that such a cop would feel remorse (especially considering the very real infiltration of law enforcement in the Bay Area by white supremacist sympathizers) struck a false note with me that I can't really get over. It doesn't take away from everything that was great about this movie, but I can't ignore it.
posted by invitapriore at 7:40 PM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

to see this movie ratify the extremely remote possibility that such a cop would feel remorse (especially considering the very real infiltration of law enforcement in the Bay Area by white supremacist sympathizers) struck a false note with me that I can't really get over.

This was an incredibly weird choice, especially since the cop shot a running man in the back. If it had been written more as a tragic mistake (victim had a black shiny thing in his hand) it would've been more plausible. Especially since the rest of the movie was so impeccable and thoughtful. I would like to hear Daveed and Rafael's thoughts on this, because I'm sure they did it for a reason.
posted by Mavri at 8:02 AM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I dont think the movie is required to take a position on why the cop doesnt try to get the drop on them in the final scene. Maybe its remorse (which i agree with you all is unlikely) maybe he is worried about being a cop responsible for killing two black men in under a week, or that he'd get one of them but not the other and still end up dead.

As far as whether the cop would or would not try to find/go after Collin afterwards, i appreciated that it was left for the viewer to guess about - just like they didnt need to introduce a plausible explanation for the cop shooting the guy in the back - perhaps im applying thematic messaging too broadly but part of the Ruben's vase/blindspotting phenomenon is that you see things the way your brain wants you to - we (the audience) dont need to see external validation that the black man running away posed a threat for the officer to feel justified.

When we got back from seeing it yesterday we met up with a friend who wanted to know what it was about, and i had to say that without giving it entirely away its not really a plot-driven movie at all. I think they did an amazing job rendering oakland in a beautiful way that still showed plenty of bumps and realities, and highlighting basic questions facing society . . . without a particularly compelling narrative story. Its just not a movie that can be summed up by answering the question 'what happened?'
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:03 AM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

The cop doesn’t come by his “remorse” in a vacuum. His wife just left, taking their child with her. Then someone appears in his trophy room, in the very heart of his home, gets the drop on him, and then... lets him go. After rapping at him.

At that point, he’s broken, and he just wants a win. Anything. So he claims that he’s not really a racist to the white guy. The white guy will sympathize, right? That’ll let him off the hook a little, that none of this is his fault at all. He just didn’t know he was talking to the exact wrong white guy on the exact wrong day to get even a shrug and a nod.

As for why he didn’t jump Collin while he wasn’t looking at him: having a gun pointed at you (especially when you aren’t already pointing or even holding one) can make you very, very cautious. The few feet his gun was from him might as well have been a mile.

Also, I’m mostly used to Ethan Embry as Coyote from Grace and Frankie, so he was kinda curiously jacked, and I found myself looking at his arms for much of that scene, wondering whether he was playing the cop on a steroid mood swing.
posted by Etrigan at 4:22 PM on August 7, 2018

It didn't bother me that the cop feels remorse. I mean, killing someone has an impact - emotional, career, family. Even if it doesn't have the consequence it should have.

Anyway, I liked the movie and appreciated that it had weird/unrealistic aspects to it. It was funny to watch it as an Oaklander.. mostly felt really resonant. But there was a funny detail that they kept talking about how this one particular very Oakland restaurant, Kwik Way, has changed and isn't as 'authentic' as it used to be, but they shot Kwik Way at an old Wienerschnitzel location in Alameda (next town over - notoriously white)
posted by latkes at 7:17 PM on October 21, 2018

I noticed that shot! Regarding the inevitable impact that killing a human being has, I think the thing is that our intuition ("our" referring to people who retain the emotional capacity to be disturbed by such an act no matter the victim) that such a thing would be fundamentally unsettling just really doesn't apply to some people. It's hard to imagine (speaking for myself as a white-passing person who has never experienced that level of dehumanization first-hand) that someone like Darren Wilson could come away from what they did without being traumatized by the experience and their own actions, but you see interviews with the dude and it's clear that the only thing he regrets is being called out for what he did. I think that level of non-feeling is more typical than not on the part of the perpetrators of the sort of murder that Diggs' character witnessed in the movie, and that's why that scene rubbed me wrong.
posted by invitapriore at 9:23 PM on November 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

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