In a year where most movies have been delayed from releasing due to the coronavirus pandemic, famed filmmaker Spike Lee has come to the rescue to deliver one of his most jaw-dropping, explosive joints that is sure to knock your socks off.
Set in the present day, “Da 5 Bloods” follows four black Vietnam War veterans returning to Vietnam in search of the remains of their deceased friend Stormin’ Norman — Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman — and the millions of dollars worth of gold they buried years ago.
Of the four veterans, Paul — Delory Lindo, in a spectacle of a performance — serves as the group leader, battling with severe PTSD and a strained relationship with his son David (Jonathan Majors), who accompanies his father and friends on their journey. Lindo, not currently a widely known actor, gives an absolute nuclear bomb of a performance, his character vastly complex and dynamic. Reminiscent at times of Daniel-day Lewis’ iconic performancee in 2007’s “There Will Be Blood,” the Academy should just mail Lindo the Oscar for Best Actor today.
Traveling with Paul and David are Otis (Clarke Peters), Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), and Eddie (Norm Lewis), each dealing with their own demons and expressing their different perspectives as to how to handle the gold and Norman’s legacy. Peters and Whilock Jr provide hilarious comedic relief throughout the picture and generate natural chemistry for the group. In flashbacks, Chadwick Boseman as Stormin’ Norman is as cool as a character can get, Boseman’s characters speaking to the times we’re currently living in and expressing a deeply complex outlook on race in America.
Spike Lee is always known for channeling complex social issues into his films, making no exception in his latest. Somehow, the director does a stellar job in engaging the audience in not only the story of the five men’s journey but by adding tributes to black history and culture, connecting the unjust history of black servicemen in the Vietnam War with civil rights issues both past and present, creating a vivid, imaginative style that blends history, comedy, and drama in an almost effortless fashion. Edited with an upbeat and energetic style, “Da 5 Bloods” is a directorial gem and a film blazing with originality and style.
Few directors have such creative visions as Lee does, and in “Da 5 Bloods” this distinguished artist is at the peak of his powers. This is the kind of film that as it unravels gets more and more engaging, each scene more heart-stopping or gut-wrenching than the next. In a time where the vast majority of films produced each year are either regurgitated from other sources or predictable stories reminiscent of what we’ve already seen, refreshing doesn’t even begin to describe the wild ride that Lee has given us. Each scene from the script bursts off the page and onto the screen, Lee taking over our attention with his complex characters and shocking, energetic tale of humanity.
“Da 5 Bloods,” is the kind of film that has so much energy and style that it becomes intoxicating at times. Many will be referring to the “Landmine Scene” or the “Boat Scene” or any of the various action sequences, yet the entire film has a bittersweet sense to it that the intensity and action become complementary to the heartfelt nature Lee composes.
This is Lee’s best film since “Do The Right Thing” and without question the best picture of 2020 so far.