Streaming on Netflix
Da 5 Bloods masquerades as a buddy film between four African-American war veterans who head back to Vietnam to retrieve the gold they’d hidden during the war with their fallen leader Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman in an extended cameo) and his remains. The group includes Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) the jester, Otis (Clarke Peters) the grounded medic, Eddie (Norm Lewis) who appears to have succeeded in his life post-war, and Paul (Delroy Lindo), their unofficial leader who is visited by the ghosts of the dead. As the four embark on a trek in the Vietnam jungle, we are privy to their relishing conversations about race, war, morality, and more. We meet a myriad of characters like Otis’ illegitimate daughter and her mother and we get to see a different kind of aftermath of the war.
This is how we like subplots
After the core story around retrieving gold and the remains of their worshipped leader is over, the film explores subplots with almost arrogant finesse. Even with over two hours of runtime, Da 5 Bloods is strong in all parts. The near-end revelation is the grim highlight of the film.
Also, it’s a rich heist film
Outside of its broader context and themes of war and race, the film is a thrilling heist movie. The narratives of African American soldiers who fought for a country that disenfranchised them apart, there is a treasure, there are guns, there are betrayals, and there’s the God-loving rush of violent face-offs.
Da 5 Bloods is an experience
Da 5 Bloods is visually stunning, complete with an interspersion of real-life pictures and videos of the war and the collateral atrocities. The music is haunting with a mix of classical and soul. It drives the film home. Spike Lee ends the story for us ever so perfectly.
WATCH OR NOT
Da 5 Bloods is one of the best Netflix originals made, hands down. It is many things including and not limited to woke, thrilling, and stunning.
Director: Spike Lee
Writers: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
Cast: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Streaming on: Netflix