Friday 12 June 2020

Da 5 Bloods (Movie Review)

The Oscars might still be a good couple of months away, but boy does it feel like things are heating up already. First we had Elisabeth Moss giving a career-best performance in Shirley, now its Delroy Lindo stealing every scene in Da 5 Bloods. But the latest Spike Lee joint has a lot more to offer than just great performances. It also boasts the director's unique vision as well as a heartfelt story.

That story is of course about Da 5 Bloods, a group of soul brothers that fought together through the horrors of the Vietnam War. Several decades after the war has ended, the men decide to reunite in Vietnam. Their mission is two fold: bring back the remains of their fallen comrade, Norman (Chadwick Boseman), and recover a shipment of gold they had found in a downed plane and left buried in the jungle.

At two and a half hours in length, the movie feels long enough for its subject matter, but never overstays its welcome. Its first act is carried along by the depictions of the bond and camaraderie between the Bloods. Delroy Lindo's performance as Paul, the self-appointed leader of the group, needs to be acknowledged at this point. He captures the fear and anger, the kind that can only be born through the pain and anguish of warfare, and does it so accurately that his acting elevates the material.

In many ways, Da 5 Bloods feels like an apology by Netflix for The Last Days of American Crime. It is just as timely and emotional as the latter was tone deaf and soulless. It tackles social issues that are just as relevant today as they were back when these men fought in Vietnam, but it never ceases to be bold, funny and/or thrilling while doing so, which is more than we can say about that other film.

The fact that the movie is also beautifully shot, tightly edited and well scripted only goes further to elevate the experience. Flash backs are presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, with film grain effect to simulate old-time war footage. This works well enough to differentiate the multiple time jumps that dot the movie, and the decision to not digitally de-age the principal actors in these scenes is an interesting choice.

Spike Lee has proven once again why he is still considered one of the visionary directors working today. That Da 5 Bloods is coming right off the heels of BlacKkKlasman is proof that we haven't seen everything he has to offer yet. You can definitely expect to see the movie on my list of favorites by the end of this year, as it is easily one of the best movies I have seen so far.

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