Four African-American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen Squad Leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.
Spike Lee’s latest film, ‘Da 5 Bloods‘, is a drama about four black Vietnam veterans who return to the country for the first time since the war to track down the remains of a fallen comrade, as well as the treasure they buried while serving there. The film covers a lot of bases, from the long term impacts of war on society and the individual to the experiences of black Americans, and it wraps it around a central narrative that unfolds like a caper or a thriller. Spike Lee, not for the first time, throws a lot of ideas at the screen, not all of which stick, but there’s a really compelling energy to proceedings that helps to overcome anything that doesn’t work.
The performances are of high quality, particularly from Delroy Lindo as the member of the group most in denial about the effect the war had and continues to have on him. Flashbacks fill in the gaps, with Chadwick Boseman playing their fallen comrade, and I liked how we got little pieces that helped us to understand how these men became the people they are today. As well as confronting the past, the journey forces the men to realise that they perhaps don’t get along as well with one another as they thought they did, and this starts to cause conflict within the group when they are forced to deviate from the plan. Lee uses the experiences of these men to make sweeping political statements that don’t necessarily tie in with the events on screen, but I kind of liked the style and the way it helped to elevate a story that is pure pulp at heart to achieve greater scope and resonance.
‘Da 5 Bloods’ is an uneven melting pot of ideas and it’s undoubtedly a little indulgent, but I thought it came together quite well in the end and I really liked spending time with these characters.
Directed By: Spike Lee
Starring: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Johnny Trí Nguyễn, Mélanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser, Jasper Pääkkönen, Jean Reno and Veronica Ngo