Sundance review: Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs is a movie star in vital, incisive Blindspotting

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal in Blindspotting, Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal in Blindspotting, Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

As the cast of Hamilton continues to dominate other media, Daveed Diggs proves he is a movie star in his Sundance film Blindspotting. Lin-Manuel Miranda got a head start composing songs for Moana, but Diggs did some music for TV’s The Mayor, and now cowrote this role to showcase his acting chops, social commentary and mad rhymes. 

Collin (Diggs) has three days left on a one year probation. His friend Miles (Rafael Casal, who cowrote with Diggs) makes it hard for Collin to stay clean, playing with guns and doing drugs. When Collin witnesses a cop (Ethan Embry) shooting an unarmed black suspect, Collin feels he can’t report it.
Blindspotting is a comedy, because Collin uses humor to cope with the odds stacked against him. The guns and drugs making him nervous about his probation escalate into absurdity. A runner on health food is pretty funny too.
Like the best humor, Blindspotting gets real. Miles’ guns get really serious. We eventually hear the story of what landed Collin in prison, and it’s absurdly told through a biased third person narrator. But it becomes serious because it ruined Collin’s life, essentially for nothing but ego. Not even Collin’s ego, but Miles’s ego.
The script and director Carlos Lopez Estrada build the dread of circumstances that leave Collin vulnerable to police. I hope this makes people understand it’s not as simple as “if you’ve done nothing wrong, what do you have to hide?”
The term blindspotting is the film’s thesis statement. There’s always something there you’re not seeing, but everyone can also retrain our brains to see more.
Diggs made sure to write in opportunities for Collin to rap. One is a nightmare that makes the rap surreal.
It culminates in a confessional manifesto. Estrada defuses the tension before the end, but this is a vital social commentary delivered in the way Diggs does best. Diggs on screen is intense. He is a movie star.
Blindspotting is exactly the kind of movie you hope to discover at Sundance. It is endlessly entertaining but has something to say, so hopefully people will hear it.
Lionsgate will release Blindspotting later this year.

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