Writer: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee (Screenplay)
Starring: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Melanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser
Plot: 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.
Runtime: 2 Hours 34 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Da 5 Bloods starts as four veterans Paul (Lindo), Otis (Peters), Eddie (Lewis) and Melvin (Whitlock Jr) return to Vietnam to locate the remains of one of their former squad leader Norman (Boseman) who died during the war and the gold fortune they wanted to claim for themselves.
With the four setting out their plan, they must first negotiate with Desroche (Reno) to sell the gold, before David’s estranged son David (Majors) turns up and needs to be put back in his place before the journey.
Thoughts on Da 5 Bloods
Characters – Paul is the leader of the group of friends, he has suffered the most after the war, with him being the closest to the fallen brother, he wants to complete the mission and honour his old friend, even if his estranged son tries to get in the way. David is the estranged son that ends up joining the men in Vietnam, he wants to make sure his dad is ok on the journey, while it also gives him a chance to get closer and have his own adventure in life. Otis has memories off the battlefield in Vietnam, a lost love, a secret he never knew about, the one who adds the connections for the cashing in process for the men. Eddie and Melvin complete the group on the mission, they complete the banter between the men, showing how important their friendship truly is between them all.
Performances – Delroy Lindo is outstanding in the leading role, coming back to his best like we haven’t seen before. Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis and Isiah Whitlock Jr complete the main cast, each shining the in the supporting roles in the film, creating a brotherhood between the men.
Story – The story here follows four former Vietnam war soldiers that head back years later to honour a fallen soldier and find the treasure they left behind. The story is filled with the flashbacks between the time in the war and modern day, showing how the unity between the men is still strong all these years later. We do get news clips to fill in the information that you might not understand from only learning basic history towards the Vietnam war. The tone of the story is very interesting too, because we start with the first 30 odd minutes, with the idea this could be a reunion with a serious side, that might have laughs along the way. This does drastically change when we see the affects the war had on Paul and the journey side of things, with the story continue to shift in tone through the film, which is a delight to see, with the moments of joy and intense moments both shining through.
War – The film uses the war film to show how soldiers would have constantly been affected by the horrors they experienced long after leaving and how both sides will still be living in the haunted memories of people they lost in the war.
Settings – The film does use the setting exceptional well too, with the opening in the big city where everything has moved on since the war, before returning to the jungle to see how this environment will continue to change Paul, after his previous experiences in the war.
Scene of the Movie – Reflection.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is longer than it needs to be.
Final Thoughts – This is a performance heavy movie, that does show us the unity of brotherhood from war in a way that only Spike Lee can, showing a new light on the soldiers that would have been forgotten in time.
Overall: Best Performances of the year.
Agreed, this is a performance driven film with some great work by the cast. Lindo absolutely kills it.