Blindspotting is America


#1

Blindspotting is the movie I wanted Sorry to Bother You to be. It’s an unfair comparison since the films have different goals and messages but I think Blindspotting succeeded where Sorry to Bother You fell short. As an anarchist, pro-collective, pro-union, Marxist movie, Sorry to Bother You is excellent and I really liked it for that, but it ultimately didn’t land with me on the topic of race, which seemed like its main selling point based on trailers. Its portrayal of racism in America is intentional caricature, but I think the message suffers for it, unlike its lampooning of late capitalism which is one of its strengths. It’s easy to dismiss cartoonish racism because you can just cognitive dissonance it away by saying “I can’t possibly be guilty of THAT”.

In contrast, Blindspotting is a searing look at the confluence of racism, black culture, white privilege, police brutality, and (toxic) masculinity in America. I particularly liked its (repeated) depiction of the main character’s PTSD over witnessing an Antwon Rose-style police killing. There is a heightened realism/surrealism applied to a few choice scenes that really has to be seen to be comprehended. The film’s two climaxes are brilliant monologues on what white people can get away with on a daily basis (the second in the form of an incredibly fire rap verse that feels completely appropriate in context) that don’t feel at all preachy. Ultimately, in focusing in on race, I think Blindspotting made a very coherent and pointed statement that Sorry to Bother You couldn’t with all its other themes.

Sorry to Make Half this post about a different movie and draw two excellent films about Oakland in conflict with each other. I saw them on consecutive weekends and the comparison was hard to ignore. I like them both a lot, but I think Blindspotting will be the best film of the year.


#3

I just wrote a piece on both these movies. I don’t think either film had just race on their mind. Blindspotting is as much about cultural identity and gentrification than it is about skin color, not to mention how few options there are for ex-cons in this country and how easily we can write off their lives.

I agree Sorry to Bother You doesn’t stick its landing and is a bit of a mess (a good over-ambitious mess though). But it also isn’t just a race movie either. Race can’t be removed from either film, but these both are pretty universal statements about urban life in a city beset by tech imperialism.

Blindspotting might be my second-favorite movie of the year, Sorry to Bother You is easily also in the top 5.


#4

Curious what you have as #1. As for your other point, I think gentrification and employment opportunities for ex-cons are inextricably tied to race because the policies tied to them are incurably motivated by race (in America).


#5

Race is tied up in both movies, it’s not a point that can ignored. But I think putting them in a box as “black movies” limits them somewhat. Plus a lot of audiences can either say “eh, that’s not for me, I’m white” or say “I’m white, I did my duty and saw this #Woke movie, now I have the license to be a shitty racist again”. You look at them as “man, urban America is in the shit” movies, and that’s a more universal message. Fixing racism can be viewed as an impossible problem, but fixing tax brackets, real estate zoning, and job opportunities is doable.

Anyway, my number one movie this year is Annihilation. It doesn’t fit our theme but it does have Tessa Thompson.


#6

True Tessa Thompson is numero uno.