Blindspotting

Blindspotting ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Blindspotting is one of my friend's favorite movies of all time. She actually showed me the ending rap scene a couple of months ago, so I wasn't sure if the movie would have the same impact as watching that scene for the first time. But, Blindspotting truly blew my expectations away, plus any film that incorporates a psychology concept scores extra points with me.

First and foremost, I love how Oakland is depicted in this movie. Blindspotting begins with a montage of what makes Oakland vibrant, colorful, and full of life. One thing I love about Oakland is all the murals that are present throughout the city. All the local artists capture the collective soul of Oakland in the people here and I wish more people could see that about Oakland. This is sort of a tangent, but I have met some interesting people in college. Some remind me of the hipster culture this movie depicts as satire. I've also had many people tell me they would never go to Oakland because they think Oakland is purely dangerous, but unironically they would go to San Francisco in a heartbeat. Blindspotting uses the stereotypes people may often associate with Oakland as a starting point for what is often ignored or not talked about enough with systematic racism, police brutality, gentrification, unjust prison systems, and much more than I will ever be able to describe with a sentence.

What struck me immediately was the risks Blindspotting takes with how the movie looks, which in turn influences how the movie feels. I could name a bunch of things I liked, but here are a couple: the split-screen effect, the almost neon-like colors, and the stop-motion feeling editing present throughout the movie. In addition, I also liked what was done with the sound from the wrongful gunshots fired by the white officer to the car alarm when Miles, played by Rafael Casal, gets into a fight after the very hipster party. Both instances help elevate the tension I felt when watching. The tension was already there underneath the surface, but those were some of the moments where the tension could no longer be subdued. In sum, what I'm trying to say is that the risks taken with the cinematography, editing, and sound paid off in my eyes. All those factors help keep Blindspotting unique, rough, smooth, comedic, dramatic, and theatrical at the same time, which is hard to do, but this movie does so with grace.

Lastly, I wanted to mention the idea of a blind spot, which is adapted from the psychological concept of figure-ground perception. This phenomenon refers to how people tend to oversimplify their surroundings by focusing on the main figure and blurring everything else into the background. In Blindspotting, this is used in the ending rap sequence to call out a white cop who shot a black man unjustly. This white cop can afford to have a blind spot, but Collin, played by Daveed Diggs, can never have this luxury. Collin is shown throughout the film being on edge because any mistake can cause his parole to turn into a heavier sentence in an instant. A good point that Val, played by Janina Gavankar, makes is that people can change their blindspotting tendencies, but that it takes a whole lot of effort and time to do so. I try to think about the biases I hold often. It may seem hopeless at times since people have an innate tendency to categorize things which then involves forming stereotypes. But, with a lot of effort over time, stereotypes don't have to develop into prejudice or even discrimination. I like the Blindspotting doesn't give the audience a solution. A solution denotes coming to an end, but in order to change the biases we hold, it needs to be a continuing process of growth.

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