This indie dramedy could have been a hard-knock urban story, but instead it's funny and insightful, with heartfelt characters, and it's astute enough to explore many sides of the issues at hand. Co-written by its two stars, Blindspotting is constantly surprising, using its plot mechanisms -- the shooting, the introduction of the gun, and even a box of curling irons -- to open up further discussion, rather than trudging down familiar paths toward violence or conflict. Destruction -- or self-destruction -- isn't the only/inevitable ending here; things are discussed and reasoned.
Directed by Carlos López Estrada, making his feature debut, Blindspotting is also very funny for a long time, although, as with so many comedies, the laughs tend to dry out as the story threads are wrapped up. But it's so good for so long that that's easily forgiven. Diggs, a Tony winner for Hamilton, has a warm screen presence, even though his character is somewhat passive, given his parole-related storyline. Casal is the surprise, turning his explosive, troublemaking character into a genuinely thoughtful one. And as in Sorry to Bother You, the city of Oakland is used as a fascinating locale, full of personality and inner conflict. Overall, this is a bracing achievement, a movie worth seeking out.