Every once in a while, I get obsessed with a movie. There’s a scene or a moment that completely draws me in and makes the movie, in my opinion, perfect. When the first Iron Man came out, watching Tony take to the skies in the barely put together 1st suit and come crashing back down impacted me significantly. Because at the end of the scene, he got up and started walking. To me, that’s a perfect summary of who he is as a character. He creates something fantastic, it fails and he keeps going. In Mad Max: Fury Road, Furiosa and Max fight the first time they come face to face. It’s violent and intense, it also perfectly frames who they are as characters. At the end of the fight, they still don’t like each other, and one could argue at the end of the movie they still don’t really like each other, but they pull together to face a bigger threat. In a raw and almost not seen before way. Max respected Furiosa and she respects him. It made me obsessed. When I saw Blindspotting this past summer, for the first time it was a dream sequence that resonated with me. Made me want to watch it over and over. As a whole, Blindspotting is an award-worthy movie. But for me, it only took one scene in particular for me to love this movie and drive me to write about it all the time.
Usually, dream sequences are used for foreshadowing. When both the audience and the character need help to look deeper into something or connecting dots that aren’t obvious. In dreams anything is possible. What draws me in when it comes to Blindspotting’s dream scene is that it chooses to stay grounded in the real world and focus on putting out a message in a pop culture fashion that’s nearly universally understood. I’m talking about rap and the fact that, as the movie puts it later in the film, everyone is conditioned to listen to a rapping nigga.
Collin can’t speak, and because he can’t speak Miles has to do so for him. But Miles only has negative things to say no matter how pretty he makes them sound. And he raps out these backhanded compliments because people are more likely to listen the smoother you make the words go round. They’re even more likely to listen the lighter the skin color, so Miles is perfect to get this message said out loud. About how Collin hasn’t changed and is still the gangster society assumes him to be. Sure he’s calm and collected but still, there’s no room for pussyfooting because there are no passes and the last thing they’ll tolerate is to be disrespected by anyone let alone the masses. The courtroom is dimly lit so the judge remains a silhouette unseen. The jurors are all men. They’re all dressed in black, a signal to our subconscious to know what that means. Then Collin starts spitting up bullets in place in the words he’s trying to spill. And the red light that kept Collin from getting home on time starts to blink in a rhythm that’s eerily chill. It all comes to a climax as our judge is illuminated to reveal, the cop in real life who shot a black man. A police officer whose aim wasn’t to detain, but to kill. When Collin does get his voice back, it doesn’t matter. Miles words have already been taken at face value, even though it was clearly against Collin’s will.
Blindspotting holds nothing back with its dedication to getting its message across, even when the message is uncomfortable. It’s multi-layered and demands that we as an audience pay attention to what is being put in front of our faces. Miles is the outlandish one, the one that runs off at the mouth and the one that does things without thinking. But it’s Collin that this is constantly projected upon. He’s racially profiled by the police, he’s judged by his ex for the things that Miles does and looks down upon by his own skin folk in charge of the halfway house. Everyone has been conditioned to see the two men in two very specific ways, even though they’re both always proving that they should be seen in a different way entirely.
I think what I love most about Blindspotting is the conversations it brings to the table. Different subjects that all in some way or another intersect. The dream sequence focuses on one topic, in particular, the commonly known theme of how even after someone does their time in jail, they are forever after judged as a criminal. Collin isn’t a criminal, a situation got out of hand and he ended up paying the price, he’s hardly violent or a thug. But since he’s been to jail and he’s got a record now, when mostly everyone looks at him now they see him as criminal. A bad tough guy that’s to be feared. No matter how much he shrinks himself and holds himself back in attempts to change the outside view. Which Miles perfectly articulates in the last half of his rap. This is Collin’s life now until it’s lights out.
I’m really appreciative of Blindspotting. It’s a story that I hope is spread far and wide and I hope it resonates with people the way it’s resonated with me. It’s a movie that should be taught in classes and essays should be written about it.