Daveed Diggs stars as a convict riding out his last few days on probation in 'Blindspotting'


Blindspotting ★ 1/2

Oakland is having its onscreen moment. Not only did the city factor into the bookending scenes of one of this year’s biggest hits, Ryan Coogler’s Marvel Comics-spawned Black Panther, but an even more cartoonish version of the Northern California port can currently be seen to off-kilter effect in Boots Riley’s cinema debut, Sorry to Bother You. That film premiered at this spring’s Sundance Film Festival, alongside Carlos López Estrada’s more realistic portrait of the gentrifying urban area, Blindspotting. Co-scripted by lifelong friends, actors Daveed Diggs (originator of the Thomas Jefferson role in Broadway’s Hamilton) and Rafael Casal, this love letter to the city where they grew up finds Diggs portraying Collin, the beating heart of the story. Trying to make it through the final three days of probation stemming from an assault conviction, Collin hopes to keep his head low; all he needs to do is make a mandatory 11 pm curfew at a halfway house, which he presses up against as he flirts with rekindling his relationship with Val (Janina Gavankar of HBO’s True Blood), who manages the front desk of the moving company that employs him and his bad news best friend, Miles (Casal). Still, even a disruptive figure like Miles is grounded by the presence of a good woman, his wife Ashley (Jasmine Cephas Jones). But when Collin inadvertently witnesses a cop kill an unarmed man, his happy ending is threatened—as is the film’s, which is nearly derailed by a tonally inconsistent climax that requires a leap-of-faith that some viewers may not be willing to make. (At Coolidge Corner and Kendall Square.)

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