Socially conscious films can often be a preachy drag. But Blindspotting has enough moving parts to keep us interested and entertained. Its messages — about race, class and police brutality — strongly resonate and we’re happy to play along with these characters.

One of the comedy-drama’s themes revolves around friendship, and that eternal question: Just how far are you willing to go with a friend who has proven repeatedly that he or she is the epitome of a bad influence?

In Blindspotting, the he in question is Miles (Rafael Casal). Miles is violent, insecure, reactionary. His fly-off-the-handle actions usually mean trouble for Collin (Daveed Diggs). This is especially bad of late because Collin is living in a halfway house under the limitations of his probation.

When the film opens, Collin has a mere three days until his probation ends and he can reclaim some of the freedoms of his life. This contrasts starkly with Miles, who has just purchased a gun, ostensibly to protect his girlfriend (Jasmine Cephas Jones) and their son (Ziggy Baitinger).

Miles is white. Collin is black. They are lifelong friends who grew up in Oakland and now work for the Commander moving company (“Excellence in Relocation”). Miles wears a grill and strives doggedly to be as “street” and “hood” as possible. Collin just wants his life back.

In real life, Diggs and Casal, who co-wrote the script, are also longtime friends from Oakland. Diggs won a Tony Award for playing the dual roles of Lafayette and Jefferson in the original Broadway production of Hamilton. Casal is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion.

The duo’s easygoing chemistry plays well in Blindspotting. They often break into rhymes, or try to construct rhymes, as ways of expressing themselves. It’s a spoken-sung-rapping kind of dialogue or monologue that is especially effective in a climactic showdown late in the film.

For Collin and Miles, their Oakland of old is quickly being gentrified, and they have trouble adapting to the new-money, tech and startups crowd moving in.

Miles’ T-shirt says it all: “Kill A Hipster, Save Your Hood.”

It’s not easy for Collin to stay out of trouble as the three days wind down. On one hand, he must deal with Miles’ buffoonery. Worse, driving the moving truck home one night, he witnesses a white cop gunning down an unarmed black man in the street. It’s a brutal moment that will continue to haunt him, and conjures the harsh realities of American life circa 2018. The film is ultra-contemporary yet its themes are eternal.

One avenue of salvation for Collin is his ex-girlfriend Val (Janina Gavankar). She’s torn between helping him (she got him his job at the moving company) and keeping her distance in order to fend off the next calamity. She’s also studying psychology, and the title of the film derives from her way of remembering “Rubin’s Vase” while prepping for a test. The visual looks either like a vase or two faces. Depending on which one you see, the viewer is “blindspotting” the other.

It also serves as a metaphor for the way some white cops see a black man on the streets at night.

First-time director Carlos López Estrada keeps the tensions taut, and although the mix of comedy and drama doesn’t always work, Diggs’ charisma goes a long way toward drawing the audience in. We’re rooting for him to succeed. And yeah, his dopey friend, too.

Clint O’Connor covers pop culture. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 or coconnor@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClintOMovies.