Longtime friends Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal spent a decade crafting “Blindspotting,” a story of their dynamic and dangerous hometown, Oakland, California. An opening-night competition entry from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the screenwriters’ debut feature, which they star in and produce, now has its first trailer. Dropped Wednesday, the clip demonstrates how the city can treat men from the same class, with the same job, and the same interests as polar opposites — if they happen to have different skin colors. “You monsters got me feeling like a monster in my own town,” chokes Diggs’ character before eliciting a scream.
Well-intentioned Collin (Diggs, a “Hamilton” Tony winner) has 72 hours left on his probation, but little compassion from Miles (Casal), his reckless pal with gold grillz. For instance, Miles neglects to tell Collin that a chat with an Uber drive is a secret shopping spree for guns. Trouble still finds Collin when he’s alone, however — he watches a white officer kill an unarmed black man at an empty intersection, then has a nightmare about facing the shooter in court. Even a fun outing with Miles’ daughter taken a dark turn; she’s seen so much footage of police violence in her young life that she mimes, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” then bursts into giggles.
Fellow Oaklander Clyde Carson supplies the trailer’s soundtrack (“Slow Down”). None of the film’s freestyle raps made the cut, but white-hot foreboding pulses through each scene, accented by the staccatos shackles, shatters, fists, and gunfire. Director Carlos López Estrada shares his actors’ rhythmic sensibilities, having won a 2012 Latin Grammy for his music video work.
Lionsgate bested at least four other bidders to acquire the film out of Sundance, where the cops/civilians conflict has been explored in narratives ranging from “Fruitvale Station” to “Monsters and Men.” “Blindspotting” will attempt to maintain its 92 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes when it arrives in limited theaters July 20, one week ahead of its original release date. Its national release follows on July 27. Watch the trailer below.