Paul Elliott’s review published on Letterboxd:
It's bewildering that Spike Lee received his first Oscar nomination as Best Director with BlacKkKlansman, despite making essential films for the past four decades and accumulating an impressively diverse filmography. Da 5 Bloods is an unashamedly old fashioned war drama with a screenplay which also provides an in-depth character study. It observes a group of Vietnam war veterans going back to the country for some concealed treasure they buried during a tour of duty as well as the remains of their platoon leader, who sadly died during his period of service.
Lee has an incontrovertible ability to coalesce critical moments in history with contemporary issues and together with the juxtaposing of the then and now for his main characters, changing aspect ratios as it does so, is simply phenomenal. It features some beautiful cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel, and his work here with Lee has crafted a film which captures and holds attention with its visual flair, inferred cinematic references and deliberately concocted scenarios. The entire cast all deliver fantastic performances, and there's a distinctly conferred agency to every character which ensures that this is much more than merely a treasure hunt film with a war movie component. It's a transcending film from a filmmaker who's deservingly enjoying a lengthy and accomplished career, and it's sharp and accurate comments make it a piercing declaration on the prevailing issues of the moment.