When it comes to political and social issues, no one is less afraid to speak his mind than Spike Lee. As controversial as his viewpoints may be for some, it is clear that the messages he is trying to send resonate with most people, making him one of the most influential living directors. ‘Da 5 Bloods’ is his newest effort in making a statement about race in the form of four elderly war veterans who return to the jungles of Vietnam to work on some unfinished business left behind by one of their own as their journey threatens to tear them apart.
‘Da 5 Bloods’ goes back and forth between the past, where we see these five men on the battlefields, to the present where the four of them keep up on their lives and what they are doing now. As we can see, the chemistry between these actors are there and feel like they have been with each other for years. Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. work off one another perfectly, with Lindo being a standout as Paul, a man haunted by the horrors of the war of Vietnam; filled to the brim with hatred and regret, not afraid to speak his mind with talks of politics and his support of Trump, all the while feeling like his son David (Jonathan Majors) is nothing but a burden, even when he accompanies them on their journey.
What starts off as a reunion turns into a cautionary tale of the dangers of being fascinated with gold akin to ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’ as the men set out not only to recover the remains of their squad leader known as Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman), but to seek out the gold they hid. That is when ‘Da 5 Bloods’ loses its steam. Still, I cannot praise Lee’s film more for they way he uses the many aspect ratios to determine which period it is set in, the performances, film-making techniques, and the message he is trying to send. ‘Da 5 Bloods’ is an important film, no doubt, as it uses archival footage that make it seem documentary-esque, and brutal imagery that will haunt and disturb on an emotional level. There is no perfect time for ‘Da 5 Bloods’ to be released than now.