Part war picture, part adventure film and full political race relations opus, Spike Lee takes all these different ideas and genres and creates one epic film.
He walks a tonal tightrope in the story of four African American Vietnam vets who return decades later to the country to find the remains of their KIA squad leader and recover a huge amount of gold they found and hid back when.
A meditation on American black men in the middle of a timely Black Lives Matter movement, this is a searing look at the way African Americans were treated by their own country during Vietnam and looks at the oppression still going on today.
The writing is whip-smart, with Shakespearian soliloquies abound and dialogue you aren’t about to forget anytime soon.
Delroy Lindo, for so long a dependable supporting actor, takes over the screen in a big way. His angry, PTSD-stricken veteran will surely nab him acclaim, and I’d like to start a campaign for his best actor Oscar nomination here and now. He is enigmatic and lights up the screen in every scene.
Though actors Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and The Wire’s Isiah Whitlock Jr. are all fantastic, the film truly and honestly belongs to Lindo.
Da 5 Bloods is a crowning achievement for Lee, who even tops his raw Do The Right Thing. Though it sometimes meanders at 145 minutes, it’s nevertheless a landmark film, and the best of 2020 so far.
Da 5 Bloods is now available on Netflix.
Jordan Parker is a PR professional and journalist in Halifax, and these reviews appear first on his film blog Parker & the Picture Shows.