Chris Simons’s review published on Letterboxd:
There is a deep political subtext in this movie as it pertains to the Paul character (played by the wonderful Delroy Lindo), the Vietnamese perspective of the war, the Norman character (played by a great Chadwick Boseman), and the archival footage dispersed throughout this film. What I want to talk about is the frequent use of Marvin Gaye's songs from his album What's Going On.
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today
What's Going On is a concept album with most of its songs segueing into the next and has been categorized as a song cycle; the album ends with a reprise of the album's opening theme. The narrative established by the songs is told from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to his home country to witness hatred, suffering, and injustice. Gaye's introspective lyrics explore themes of drug abuse, poverty, and the Vietnam War. He has also been credited with promoting awareness of ecological issues before the public outcry over them had become prominent.
This album was released in 1971, and it's important to note that these men served from 1967 to 1971. The album has lived on not just for its beautiful music, but for it's timeless lyrics. The album consistently speaks of the battle between love and hate, and Gaye shouts for more love because that's something we all need. It couldn't be more important to bring each other some love today. In a way, this also reflects what Spike says in Do The Right Thing, but instead of using Gaye's music, he uses the "brass knuckles" of Love and Hate. We need more love and compassion for the Vietnamese, for black people, for our mothers, daughters, sons and fathers. For our brothers, blood or not.
To say this movie moved me is just the beginning. This is simply essential viewing.