Following a group of four black American Vietnam-war veterans, we tread with careful steps through ghostly memories and volatile grounds as the men return to a field they never truly left. With a masterful cast, immersive cinematography, a Hollywood classic soundtrack, and charmingly frank directing, it’s safe to say that Spike Lee has done it again.
The plagues of the last 60 years of American history come to the fore in Spike Lee’s new movie Da 5 Bloods. The film is a reckoning of the Vietnam war, race relations, the murder of Martin Luther King, and the emptiness of avarice and greed. All of this on display amidst Spike Lee’s virtuoso direction and with a pair of performances from Delroy Lindo and Chadwick Boseman that will leave you breathless.
Spike Lee’s newest feature is an absolute gut-punch. I don’t think any introduction besides that would do Da 5 Bloods justice. Lee’s latest follows four Vietnam veterans, jovial Eddie (Norm Lewis), an often-drunk Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), measured and thoughtful Otis (Clarke Peters), and the wild card Paul (Delroy Lindo). The group travels back to Vietnam to recover the remains of their Bloods squad leader, Norm (Chadwick Boseman), who was killed in action, and also to recover a large fortune of US gold they buried when they were in the war.
I typically have something witty to say in my introductory paragraph. However, I can't think of anything funny at the moment, so imagine that the beginning of this review is some witty remark.
Da 5 Bloods had an amazing trailer that excited me for its release. It looked like a movie about war veterans coming back to Vietnam to look for treasure that they had buried back in the day. What we got was a lot more than a simple treasure hunting movie. As with many Spike Lee movies it's a study in the characters and the environment that they live in. It's a pretty interesting movie and although there were some interesting sidebars to the movie it was entertaining.
Released: 12th June 2020 (Netflix)
Released: 8th February 2020
Director: Sam Mendes
Starring: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Richard Madden, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Mark Strong
Summary: During World War I, two British soldiers – Lance Cpl. Schofield and Lance Cpl. Blake – receive seemingly impossible orders. In a race against time, they must cross over into enemy territory to deliver a message that could potentially save 1,600 of their fellow comrades – including Blake’s own brother.
I have always been particularly intrigued by films whose beginnings contrast with their endings in terms of both tone and themes. If there is a genre that I have explored the least thus far, it is war, but Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket is much more than a war film; it presents themes which illustrate the psychological anguish that comes with serving in the military.
Bravery. Bravery is courage. Bravery is doing something that scares you, but you do it anyway. We are all brave.
Last week I posted a review of 1917. Needless to say, I rather liked it. If you missed it, you can click here and see what I thought in-depth.