I. Simon’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’ll just get my one super minor nitpick out of the way before I talk about the positives (everything else): Still find the original score to be quite forgettable and uncreative. Considering that this film is the opposite of those from both a writing standpoint and a filmmaking standpoint, I do wish the score weren’t so generic.
Now with that out of the way, upon leaving the theater when I saw Blindspotting back in August, I loved individual scenes, but overall only just liked the film because some gripes affected my viewing experience a bit. However, ever since I saw the film back then and reviewed it, I’ve been thinking about it often, so much that the more I thought about it, the more I dug it. Therefore, I figured I’d revisit it in the near future, and I’m so glad I did, because Blindspotting isn’t a great film.
Blindspotting is a phenomenal one.
Original score aside, everything about Blindspotting works so well. It’s clever, it’s creative, it has hilarious moments, but most importantly of all, it’s uncompromising. While other recent films with themes revolving around racism, such as BLACKKKLANSMAN, simply left it to “racism is bad,” Blindspotting actually challenges audiences and goes deeper. It actually shows how brutal and horrible racism can truly be and what it does to victims of it, and it never once panders to audiences with some faux-feel good message or makes it look like white people and/or cops have “ended” racism. For that alone, it’s not surprising that Blindspotting didn’t even make $5 million in the box office, as this is a film that doesn’t just say that “racism is bad.” Blindspotting says that YOU. CAN. DO. BETTER., and the fact that America didn’t even bother to give it a chance only further proves that the film is very correct in that regard.
The filmmaking and writing here are both practically impeccable. Not only is the film very well paced (never being too fast or too slow), but it balances between comedy and commentary so, so well. The tonal shifts themselves are so well handled, feeling consistent and natural, sometimes intentionally off-putting, but never once jarring. The commentary itself is both hard-hitting and brilliantly written. The comedy itself is fucking hilarious, but unlike BLACKKKLANSMAN, never once does the comedy here undercut the themes. Rather, Blindspotting simply uses its buddy-comedy premise as a framework for something deeper and timely.
While the supporting characters may not have as much depth as Collin (Daveed Diggs) and Miles (Rafael Casal), every single character is less of a caricature and more of a human, even the characters who are solely in the film for comedic purposes, and the dialogue is so natural, to the point where it’s like you’re watching real life and real events happen rather than a film. Speaking of film, the filmmaking as a whole isn’t getting nearly enough credit (even I didn’t originally). The camerawork & lighting, editing, sound design and production design are all top notch, not only creating tension during darker scenes, but all being used in ways that are extremely creative. The basement scene in the third act is one of my favorite scenes in 2018 film.
But what it all comes down to is the performances of the two leads, both of which I very much underrated initially on my first viewing. Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal both provide phenomenal performances (two of the best of the year), and their chemistry is flawless. The way they just banter with one another is so natural, and the fact that they are lifelong friends in real life well shows. The supporting cast is great as well.
In my original review, I might’ve said that Blindspotting, while going down as one of the most important films of the year, might not go down as one of the best. Well, I’m taking that back, because Blindspotting will very much go down as one of the best films of the year in my eyes, and I very much love it. It’s not only both a phenomenal film and a hilarious comedy, but it’s an important film, and it’s such a shame that it flopped in the box office, even if I’m not surprised in the slightest. It has next to no chances of getting Oscar nominations, but that says far more about the Academy than it does about the film’s quality, because this is art. Strongly recommended.
10/10 - A+