Monday, June 15, 2020

Review: Da 5 Bloods

Release date: June 12, 2020
Running time: 156 minutes
Starring: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Chadwick Boseman 

Spike Lee is back with Da 5 Bloods, a new Spike Lee Joint. This film is the story of four African American vets who return to the jungles of Vietnam on a search to find their fallen Squad Leader Stormin’ Norman​ (Boseman)'s remains and buried treasure. Norman taught these gentleman how to coexist as rebels and patriots, while bonding them into a surrogate family: Da 5 Bloods.  Led by Paul (Lindo),the brotherhood of heroes along with his son David (Majors) are truly tested by the forces of man and nature along with the lasting devastation from the Vietnam War. 
Part of Netflix's Black Lives Matters Collection, Da 5 Bloods delivers an abundance of powerful messages along with educational pieces on African American Culture. The cast does an amazing job across the board but Delroy Lindo makes this a must watch with his performance. This movie highlights the consequences and tragedy of war.  This is most seen through Lindo's character Paul, who is suffering from PTSD, a flawed relationship with with his son David, and refusing to seek therapy for help.  His time in conflict wired him differently and he carries that burden into his civilian and daily life.  And despite the war being over for many years, the war truly is never over for these soldiers and their foes as displayed very early in this film in a powerful scene.

Spike Lee once again displays his strength and skill in being one of the best political filmmakers. And in true Spike Lee fashion, this is done in a heavy yet stylish way.  For example in a few scenes he would make references to events in African American history and display beautiful and original graphic images to compliment it, seemlessly educating the viewers.  I also loved how Spike Lee filmed them movie in different aspect ratios, standard widescreen ratios for modern scenes and the 4:3 aspect ratio at about 16mm for the Vietnam flashback scenes.  It really helps to visually separate these two times and is a striking touch.  

The display of brotherhood and camaraderie amongst these gentleman was powerful. This display spoke to humanity in general and also helped to highlight the significance that African Americans played during the Vietnam War.  They went to fight for a country who didn't believe in them yet they still did it as elite soldiers.  This style of layered storytelling is especially poignant today with our current world events.  Da 5 Bloods speaks to America's history of racism and societies practice of diminishing the contributions of its Black citizens.  Da 5 Bloods hopes to educate its viewers with an amazing film and a call for empathy. 

In a time in which the world is in flux, protesting against social injustice and mourning the murder of George Floyd and many other black citizens, the messages from Da 5 Bloods are well timed and needed to further this fight for freedom.  Spike Lee's latest picture is a poignant reminder of brotherhood and the contribution of black Americans, with a striking visual style that will educate while entertaining.  

Watch it.

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