“I’m as mad as everybody. When you purchase a ticket for an independently reviewed film through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. ‘Da 5 Bloods’ Review: Coming Home to History Spike Lee’s latest follows a group of vets who return to Vietnam in search of a fallen comrade’s remains and treasure. “Stand down! Da 5 Bloods Review: Its extended runtime may prove a bit of a drag in moments, but thanks to compelling themes, diverse characters and powerful performances from its ensemble cast, it … ‘Da 5 Bloods’ on Netflix: Film Review Spike Lee explores the twin traumas of the war in Vietnam and racial injustice at home in an ambitious but uneven adventure movie committed to … Spike Lee’s career can be described as a lover’s quarrel with American movies — and with America, too. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Paul may be MAGA, and the red hat he wears in the jungle is an image ripe with shade (the hat went to Vietnam, its symbolic representation stayed home), but he is also the most complex character in “Da 5 Bloods,” a mix of rage, anger, and hurt exacerbated by the war and the guilt it seared into his soul. Several times, Lee will engage in these sorts of tangents, either with plot or real-life images and footage edited into the film. “Be safe.” There almost was a civil war in Vietnam, where black soldiers were getting ready to take up arms, and they would not be shooting at the Viet Cong. But this superb, haunting contraption belongs to Delroy Lindo, whose complicated work here almost rivals Denzel Washington’s turn in “Malcolm X.” Lee always knows how to play the actor’s size and toughness alongside, and against, his vulnerability, and Lindo has never been afraid to plumb the depths of raw, naked emotion that would terrify actors worried about what constitutes a manly image. It’s also an argument with and through the history of film. It’s a western, concerned with greed, honor, loyalty and revenge. Each one of them confirmed this happened. Paul was with Stormin’ Norman when he died, and it’s easy to figure out what happened long before the truth is revealed. Into this expected heist movie scene, Lee introduces the topic of children who have been fathered by American G.I.’s during wars, with Peters and Lan playing the sequence in beautiful understatement before returning us back to the main story. The living project their present selves back into the past, while the dead never grow old. Otis reconnects with Tien (Le Y Lan), a former sex worker with whom he had a relationship during his tours of duty. (Oddly enough, Lee’s penchant for wonderfully crazy monikers for his characters is relegated to Reno’s; French speakers will benefit from a great visual play on “Desroche” later in the film.) Spike Lee’s excellent “Da 5 Bloods” opens with Muhammad Ali and closes with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two legends who are inextricably tied to the Civil Rights movement and Black pride. There’s also Vinh (Johnny Tri Nguyen), the group’s Vietnamese guide, who reminds the visiting Americans that wars never really end. There is plenty of action, both in wartime and during the present day, which keeps the movie moving through its 157-minute runtime. The gold itself is just as big a MacGuffin, except here it’s also a deus ex machina of sorts, pulling out of the ether a note of hopeful uplift that ties the fictional story to a much-desired, reality-based outcome that’s almost too good to believe but wonderful to behold. 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. Between these two bookends is a heist movie of sorts, albeit one with far more on its mind than its plot details would suggest. Tien is now a major financial broker who puts him in touch with a shady French businessman named Desroche (Jean Reno). He runs the blogs Big Media Vandalism and Tales of Odienary Madness. The truth of this observation is borne out in various ways, some of them bluntly literal. They’ve come back to a place that, as Vinh points out, they’ve figuratively never left. Soon, they will also encounter other French people, including Hedy Bouvier (Mélanie Thierry) an heiress turned landmine expert whom David becomes sweet on, and her colleagues Simon (Paul Walter Hauser) and Seppo (Jasper Pääkkönen), all of whom will become involved once the violent, action movie elements of the film come into play. Thank god it didn’t. Running in parallel with these criticisms are blatant homages to other films, and not just war movies like “Apocalypse Now,” which gets a visual name-check as the main characters do a pseudo-Soul Train line boogie to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” A big chunk of “Da 5 Bloods” pays tribute to John Huston’s masterful 1948 adaptation of B. Traven’s classic parable of greed, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Like that film, the plot involves a search for gold, though unlike Humphrey Bogart and John’s dad, Walter, the main characters here have a good idea where the treasure is. “Negroes are only 11% of the US populations, but among troops here in Vietnam, you are 32%.” I remember that day when Dr. King was assassinated. His critique of Hollywood’s long history of ignoring and distorting black lives has altered the way we look at movies. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel handles it well, shooting some extraordinarily gorgeous and horrific images while fiddling with the aspect ratio in ways I found too clever to be annoyed with—one change occurs during an old-fashioned wipe, while another manifests itself with a dramatic opening of the screen. Da 5 BloodsRated R. Blood. The first words we hear are Ali’s famous explanation of why he refused to enlist. This arc reaches its apex in a moment of cathartic exorcism that gives way to a moment of darkly comic punishment courtesy of a well-placed snare trap. It’s a reminder that the college kids didn’t wind up in this location. To describe Paul as haunted would be less an understatement than a category mistake. And even today, we’re still being shot down, choked to death, and people are marching all over the world, seeing the gruesome 8 plus minutes of our king, king Floyd’s life. Some of the faces and voices are familiar, and the lesson is clear. One of them is also a big “Rambo” fan. But when has he ever repeated himself? Da 5 Bloods foregoes CGI de-aging (or the simple act of casting younger actors) in its flashbacks. Spike Lee, Clarke Peters, Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors and Norm Lewis in Da 5 Bloods (photo courtesy of David Lee/Netflix) There’s something circular … And Black Lives do matter. In addition to the verbal commentary about present events vs. past ones, Lee also employs some sly visual representations of his points. Stormin’ Norman also puts the trunk of gold bars they discover in a downed CIA plane into context—he sees it as much deserved reparations, a repurposing of funds that were originally slated for Vietnamese people who provided information to the U.S. That gold can’t leave Vietnam in its current condition, so outside forces are necessary to assist. Paul hates the French, the Vietnamese, hell, everybody practically. As he has demonstrated his mastery of established genres (the biopic, the musical, the cop movie, the combat picture, and so on), he has also reinvented them, pointing out blind spots and filling in gaps. Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods kicks off a major summer for black cinema: Review Spike Lee's latest is one of his best. It doesn’t always hold together, but it never lets go. He’s anti-immigrant and, in what is no doubt a troll on the director’s part, Paul voted for the man an on-screen caption refers to as “President Fake Bone Spurs.” Paul even says “there were atrocities on both sides!” As far as trolling goes, however, Lee is playing the long game here. His attempts to expand the frame and correct the record have changed the course of the cultural mainstream. This long, anguished, funny, violent excursion into a hidden chamber of the nation’s heart of darkness isn’t like anything else, even if it may put you in mind of a lot of other things. This article will tackle the plot and all of its themes that are presented in this 2 hour and 35-minute film, analyzing its relevance in history — of American history, of global history, and of movie-making history. “We need to kill some crackers.” I had four screenings of this film for black and Puerto Rican Vietnam vets that they were there. The last words we hear are from a speech King gave on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his murder, where he quotes poet Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again.”. Lee, who wrote the script with Danny Bilson, Paul DeMeo and Kevin Willmott, doesn’t escape from the exoticism that has characterized most American movies about Vietnam, and he doesn’t pursue the connections between black-power politics and international anti-imperialism as far as he might have. Which brings me to Lindo. Lee also works in ties between the French, who tried their hand at Vietnam, and the Americans, who, to quote Otis, “tried to feed us that anti-Commie Kool-Aid.” “Uncle Sam did no better in Vietnam than the French did,” Desroche tells Paul after the latter goes off on him regarding French weakness. Instead, though, it ends up becoming Lee’s Triple Frontier, another Netflix disappointment about veterans regrouping to get theirs, another waste of some great actors. Da 5 Bloods Movie Review today! ‘Da 5 Bloods’ Review: Black Lives Mattered in Vietnam, Too Spike Lee’s new joint is an anguished, funny, violent argument with and about American history, with an … Spike Lee ’s excellent “Da 5 Bloods” opens with Muhammad Ali and closes with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two legends who are inextricably tied to the Civil Rights movement and Black pride. David wears a Morehouse shirt throughout his jungle trek and it’s more than just a shout-out to the director’s alma mater. In a perfect casting move, Stormin’ Norman is played by Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman. In the end, Da 5 Bloods feels like a clumsy hybrid of two fine impulses — to make a heist movie set in Vietnam, and to make a statement about race in 2020. A shot of him just shooting the shit with an Afro pick rising up from the back of his head carries enough unapologetic Blackness to power a nuclear reactor of revolution. “Da 5 Bloods” also has its own Mister Senor Daddy Love, a disc jockey Greek chorus represented here by Hanoi Hannah (Van Veronica Ngo). His pain is the motor and the moral of the story. Da 5 Bloods is proof the Vietnam War genre is still ripe for fascinating stories, thanks to great performances and Lee being at the top of his craft. North Vietnamese propagandists (like Hanoi Hannah, played by Veronica Ngo) didn’t hesitate to point this out. But Lee has always been a master of using the cinematic tropes that have always worked as an okey-doke: the left hand lures you in with the familiar before the right hand blindsides you with the unexpected punching power of the intended point. There’s no question he wants Da 5 Bloods to be his Treasure of the Sierra Madre. We also deal with how the armed forces, the National Guard were sent out to quell the uprising— I’m not going to use the word riot. And Lee’s use of Gaye’s songs, primarily from the What’s Going On album, is aces, especially in a chilling a capella rendering of the title song and a use of “God Is Love” that will stay with you long after the film is over. Cinéma Par Remi Lou le 12 juin 2020 à 17h24. for strong violence, grisly images and pervasive language. So you can make the case that we’ve been more patriotic than anybody. Da 5 Bloods Review: Spike Lee's Latest Is Another Winner for Netflix. Rated R It’s this type of whitewashing of veterans that Lee chips at with his cast and his story, the same type that would allow an NFL quarterback to imply that his White grandfathers were more patriotic than the soldiers of color who fought in the war with them, yet came home to inferior circumstances. With Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis. “That’s right, I voted for him,” Paul declares. He isn’t the hero of the movie. By Chris Agar Jun 13, 2020. After kicking off with archival footage of a suffering world during the … They were asked to kill and die in a morally dubious undertaking in the service of a country that refused to treat them as full citizens. But his strength as a political filmmaker has always resided in his ability to bring contradictions to chaotic life rather than to resolve them in any ideologically coherent proposition. by Nathaniel R. The New York Film Critics Circle have spoken, delivering their verdict on the Best of 2020. You have to think long and hard to come up with a movie that focuses so intently on the aftermath of war on Black soldiers (“Mudbound” and “Dead Presidents” come to mind, but they also have other stories to tell.). “God, you a trickster!” yells Paul, evoking the fabled character of African myth. Spike Lee Netflix! All said and done, Da 5 Bloods is a Spike Lee joint that’s high on history and hysteria. Spike Lee’s gutsy new Netflix drama, “Da 5 Bloods,” sets you up and knocks you down. A deep thinker and a shrewd tactician, Norman has taken on almost mythical grandeur in his comrades’ memories. Da 5 Bloods est un film réalisé par Spike Lee avec Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors. Da 5 Bloods: Video Review More From Common Sense Media UP NEXT. ‘Da 5 Bloods’ – A Special Spoiler Review (With Analysis) June 13, 2020 June 17, ... Da 5 Bloods. The story, about the lethal consequences of a search for buried gold, is struck from the template of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” A journey upriver from Ho Chi Minh City into the Vietnamese interior recalls “Apocalypse Now,” which the characters have all seen. Lee uses them to highlight another commonality: their strenuous opposition to the Vietnam War. “Second Unit is a Very Broad Label”: DP Newton Thomas Sigel on Da 5 Bloods | Filmmaker Magazine filmmakermagazine.com - Matt Mulcahey. So, there’s a nod to Walter Huston’s joyous gold discovery dance and Vietnamese bandits dare to paraphrase that line about not needing any stinkin’ badges. 0. Everyone knows what Spike Lee thinks of the current president, but everyone should also remember that Lee often shows an almost affectionate interest in characters whose views he finds abhorrent. Double crosses, red herrings, dead certainties and live land mines. Découvrez la critique du film Da 5 Bloods : Frères de sang de Spike Lee - Cannes 2020 aurait dû marquer l'histoire, Spike Lee devenant le premier artiste noir à présider le jury. We control our rage.” But it was about to— to be the jump off for those black soldiers. It haunts them forever. Tien (Le Y Lan), Otis’s former lover, is part of the scheme, in association with an unsavory Frenchman in a white linen suit (Jean Reno). It is he who educates the Bloods on the history of Black and brown people dying for a country that doesn’t love them back, starting with Crispus Attucks and ending with Milton Olive III, who dove on a grenade to save his platoon and was the first African-American awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. I was 11 years old, and also the Vietnam War was the first war that was televised into American homes. The latter device is worked seamlessly into the narrative, sometimes to shocking and heartrending effect, and it often draws parallels, as Ali’s speech does in the first scene, between the poor Vietnamese citizens and the poor Blacks sent to fight them. But again, that’s the well-worn path Lee travels to get to the heretofore underrepresented onscreen depiction of Black postwar trauma and its effects on friends and family alike. In those flashbacks, all four older actors play themselves without benefit of the de-aging CGI that plagued “The Irishman.” At first, it’s rather jarring, but I bought into the visual of these characters stepping through the looking glass armed with the knowledge their younger incarnations did not have. Spike Lee’s new joint is an anguished, funny, violent argument with and about American history, with an unforgettable performance from Delroy Lindo at its heart. Part of the Big Red One (the Army’s First Infantry Division), the men have come to look for the remains of their squad leader, Stormin’ Norman, who was killed in a firefight. In a way, it begs the question of what is the true measurement of patriotism and why it is far too often wrapped up in jingoism rather than sacrifice. “He’s expensive,” she tells Otis before naming his price of 20% of the take. Paul’s semi-estranged son, David (Jonathan Majors), joins the expedition, which crosses paths with a trio of international NGO workers (Mélanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser and Jasper Paakkonen). “Da 5 Bloods” is a lesser Lee movie — honestly, it’s a mess — whose characterizations of Vietnamese people are inextricable from its political failures. ‘Da 5 Bloods’ Review: Black Lives Mattered in Vietnam, Too. The men themselves initially seem to fit the usual types—there’s the joker, Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), the level-headed medic, Otis (Clarke Peters) and the one who achieved the most post-war success, Eddie (Norm Lewis). Again, Lee takes a cue from “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” but while Huston had Bogie wandering the mountains muttering to himself while in the thrall of paranoia driven by greed, Lee has Paul rant at the United States government while looking at the viewer. Furious debates about ends and means, money and morality, capitalism and imperialism. When they first meet up in Ho Chi Minh City, shaking hands and busting chops, the other guys give Paul grief for his red MAGA baseball cap. “They put our poor Black asses out here on the front line,” says Melvin, “killing us like flies.” With the occasional jump to graphic documentary footage, we’re also reminded that the Vietnam War was beamed into the homes of millions of Americans via the nightly news, forcing them to see the atrocities in such an effective way that later wartime presidents forced a moratorium on images of war, as if out of sight meant out of mind. Hawaiian-print shirts, tropical drinks, OxyContin bottles and assault weapons. In country, again: from left, Jonathan Majors, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Norm Lewis and Delroy Lindo in Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods.”. For black soldiers like the five in the movie’s title, it was especially agonizing. It’s no mistake that “Da 5 Bloods” ends with Langston Hughes’ words: "Da 5 Bloods" will be available on Netflix on Friday, 6/12. They all live with pride and regret, scarred in large and small ways by the trauma they endured as young men. Directed by Spike Lee. Share Share Tweet Email. And so this scene is when our five bloods are told over the radio two days after the fact that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. That’s what this scene is about. For Ali, the objection cost him several productive years of his career and his heavyweight title; for Dr. King, this … Beyond The Trailer reaction & movie review 2020! As in films like “Inside Man” and “BlacKkKlansman,” Lee unabashedly quotes his influences—he knows that you know what he’s doing, and he milks that for as much mileage as he can. This is the opposite of a shortcoming. Paul would rather do business with anyone else, but this is the hand they’re dealt, so the Bloods choose to play it. There’s also commentary on just how White these movies were, with people like Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone achieving mythic glory while blithely erasing the fact that 32% of the soldiers in the jungle were Black. The loot has also already been turned into more palatable and recognizable gold bars. There’s a lot. These effects are realized in a fantastic monologue delivered mostly in close-up by Lindo. After playing real-life Black legends like James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and Jackie Robinson, not to mention the fictional king of Wakanda, Boseman doesn’t need to overplay his mythical status. Read his answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here. Da 5 Bloods recaps a long history of state-sponsored murder and abuse of Black people, and suppression of protests just like those against the recent police murders of … Odie "Odienator" Henderson has spent over 33 years working in Information Technology. As expected, Lee gets excellent performances out of his cast straight down the line and is unafraid to coax out moments of love and affection to undercut the expected machismo of his Bloods. NOW PLAYING: other Da 5 Bloods: Video Review Common Sense Media. From every angle, the situation was a mess, a quagmire. First doses of … They will be assisted, at least to the base of their jungle journey, by Vinh (Johnny Tri Nguyen), a trustworthy guide who provides context from his side of what he calls “The American War.”. As prologue to the main narrative, there is a churning, chronologically disordered montage of images from the ’60s and ’70s — news clips and photographs that illustrate the fateful convergence of military escalation in Southeast Asia and racial conflict in the United States. Running time: 2 hours 34 minutes. Related Story 'Da 5 Bloods' Review: Spike Lee Strikes Pure Movie Gold In A Vietnam War Redux With Strong Relevance To What's Going On Additional stars in … In its anger, its humor and its exuberance — in the emotional richness of the central performances and of Terence Blanchard’s score — this is unmistakably a Spike Lee Joint. When we touch down in the present, we are in a Ho Chi Minh City hotel where the four surviving bloods — Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), Eddie (Norm Lewis), Otis (Clarke Peters) and Paul (Delroy Lindo) — have gathered for what looks like an old-timers’ reunion tour. Plus: A film reflecting on the legacy of … And this scene is skillfully intercut with archival footage of many of those over 122 cities that were aflame— black folks enraged. Delroy Lindo! Black Lives have to matter. And in between the music, they would start with propaganda. The Mandalorian Chapter 16 Recap: May the Force Be With You, The Essential Fellini is a Wonderful Gift for Cinephiles, Nomadland Leads 2020 Chicago Film Critics Nominations, The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. (It’s a long list that encompasses John Turturro’s Pino in “Do the Right Thing” and the snarling white supremacist played by Paakkonen in “BlacKkKlansman.”) And Lee doesn’t treat Paul as a misguided reactionary. Alas, each intention doesn’t serve the other, and so both go unrealized. It’s a platoon picture about a dangerous mission, a father-son melodrama, an adventure story, a caper and a political provocation. It seems safe to say that America itself has never been an ideologically coherent proposition, and its greatest artists embrace havoc as a kind of birthright, producing not analyses of chaos but indelible embodiments of it. Newton Thomas Sigel’s cinematography is at times beautiful, sometimes putrid, as Lee plays with film textures and formats, but Adam Gough, fresh off of Roma (2018), seems to have had his work cut out for him in the editing department, with certain sections of Da 5 Bloods looking shoddy (particularly in some gun fight sequences). Lee is one of the few directors who takes to heart Godard’s comment that “In order to criticize a movie, you have to make another movie.” There is critique here, especially of films like “The Green Berets,” “Rambo” and “Missing in Action,” with one character joking about how Hollywood went back to Vietnam to “try winning the war” on-screen. Yes, the tapestry portrays a simple scene, yet upon closer inspection, one realizes that its threads have been woven with complexity. It’s a bittersweet comedy involving a group of male friends looking back and growing old. Lee has crafted an exciting, violent film that can be enjoyed as strictly that, but what elevates it to greatness is what it says and what it shows about the perception of Blackness, whether in heroic situations or human ones. I use the word uprising. Da 5 Bloods Critics Consensus Fierce energy and ambition course through Da 5 Bloods , coming together to fuel one of Spike Lee's most urgent and impactful films. UP NEXT. The bloods believe that somewhere in country, along with Norman’s bones, lies a strongbox full of gold bars, the property of the U.S. government until Norman and his squad claimed them, either as the spoils of war or as reparations. Steal from the best, as the adage goes, and “Treasure” is a vein worth mining. Read full review “Da 5 Bloods” jumps back and forth, though not too many times, between the Bloods’ tours of duty and the present day. It is she who tells the Bloods about the death of Dr. King, and it is she who taunts them with the question of why they’re fighting for a country that will treat them like they’re second class citizens when they return. My name is Spike Lee, and I’m the director of “Da 5 Bloods.” “This is the voice of Vietnam.” That character you see is Hanoi Hannah, and that’s a real life character. Lindo’s scene isn’t a descent into madness; it’s an ascent towards self-realization filtered through angry howls of defiance. He is a colossal, terrifying presence — an archetype in the mold of Natty Bumppo, Captain Ahab, Bigger Thomas and Rambo himself. In lesser hands, the occasional messiness of the script by Lee, his fellow Oscar winning “BlacKkKlansman” scribe Kevin Wilmott, and Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo might result in a film weakened by its occasional predictability. “I see ghosts,” Paul says at one agonized point, and though the ghost he sees is Norman, the real specter in the room is the war itself. Comment. In an interview with The New York Times, Lee said this choice was, in part, to show the physical impact of war on veterans, but also it was simply due to the fact that Netflix didn’t give him the money.Either way, it’s a choice that doesn’t work. “You’re gonna have to kill me.” But also knowing their brothers and sisters are fighting for their justice, and that’s what this film is about— how we, as descendants of slaves, have fought for this country from day one. While the heart of the story takes place in current day, flashbacks, historical documents, newsreel footage, and photographs augment Lee's powerful exploration of war and race over half a century. See the full list of winners here. And even as it takes up unfinished real-world business at home and in Vietnam, “Da 5 Bloods” wrestles with some of the defining myths and motifs of American cinema. Lindo’s performance, though, is achingly specific, rigorously human scaled. All us bloods got a right to be, but we bloods don’t let nobody use our rage against us. Instead of using digital de-aging or look-alike casting, Lee places Whitlock, Lindo, Peters and Lewis alongside Boseman in the flashback scenes, which creates a sense of the uncanny immediacy of memory. The four veterans have different ideas about what should be done with the loot if they manage to recover it, and they aren’t the only interested parties. Whitlock presents yet another hilarious iteration of his persona, Lewis exudes a confidence that is clearly hiding a sadder truth, Majors is as revelatory as he was in “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” and Peters is a very effective voice of reason.