Review: Da 5 Bloods (15)

Written by Film

Netflix has been a lifesaver while stuck inside for what feels like an eternity with all their stellar content, and their latest release, Da 5 Bloods, is certainly no exception. Directed and co-written by the legend himself Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods follows four African-American war veterans who return to Vietnam for the remains of their leader and a buried treasure.

The BlacKkKlansman (2018) director has crafted a film that is tragic, funny, intense, and a whole lot of fun.  It certainly takes inspiration from Apocalypse Now (1979) taking music, shots, and even name dropping the film. Spike Lee even goes as far as to hammer this home by shooting flashback sequences on a different camera to create a more aged retro look.

Speaking of camerawork, that, and the cinematography in Da 5 Blood are fantastic. A shot that has become synonymous with Spike Lee is something called the Double dolly shot where both the camera and the actors are on dollies to give the impression of the characters floating. Yet again this camera technique was present in Lee’s latest film and at least for me, it left a smile on my face. But Lee didn’t just stop there with the cool camera work. One scene I found particularly impactful was where the brilliant Delroy Lindo has a monologue while looking directly at us, and the camera matches his movements. This makes for a really unsettling watch but certainly something very cool to watch.

Delroy Lindo is my favourite in this film with an emotional, practically deranged performance.

The cast in this film is amazing, but for me, the four war veterans, played by Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, and Norm Lewis really steal the film. They have excellent chemistry with each other as former war buddies reunited one last time who clearly love each other but have grown distant. But out of the four of them, it is Delroy Lindo who is my favourite in this film with an emotional, practically deranged performance as Paul, someone who is clearly suffering from PTSD. Also, despite his limited screen time, it was great seeing Chadwick Bosman in this film as the courageous leader of the team.

One of the reasons why this movie works so well is definitely to do with the time it has come out with the Black Lives Matter movement in full force. As with many of Spike Lee’s films here, there is his ever-present black empowerment and anti-racism. Lee is not afraid to address the problems of the world today head-on, even going as far as to make the antagonist in this film wear a MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN HAT. This is why Spike Lee is such a brilliant director: he doesn’t just make a film for entertaining people, even though as with most of his films he succeeded in that regard, but to tell something truly important and powerful and he isn’t afraid to do it.

Rating: 4/5

Last modified: 18th June 2020

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