Waqar’s review published on Letterboxd:
"You made me malignant. This fucking place here... bathed me in that lymphoma Agent Orange herbicidal stew. Those army bastards, they scorched the earth with it. Sprayed that shit in the air and the water, in my bloodstream, my cells, my DNA and my motherfucking.. soul."
What seems like a healed wound isn't really healed. The wound is still wet - and Spike Lee violently rips off the medical bandage. Blood...
..the same blood that's spilt by the blunt end of a police baton and the same blood that dripped out of the shackles that choked the ankles of the first black men and women who stepped foot on the cursed land. Spike Lee gives us the definitive portrayal of the black experience in the war.
And he fucking nails it man. Spike's had a real dip in form this past decade or so but this is as good as I've ever seen from him - and It's just as powerful as his very best films. The civil rights movement and the Vietnam conflict occured at the same time and it's almost criminal how there's barely any films which depict this.
I mean - outside of the film Dead Presidents by the Hughes brothers I can't recall any other films that focus primarily on the hypocrisy of Uncle Sam and the indignant manner in which he sent the black men off to war. It reminds me of when I was infatuated by Muhammad Ali as a kid and then I found out he lost a couple of his prime years from avoiding the draft. But there was principle behind that as I went on to learn.
Imagine taking bullets in Vietnam just to come back home to a country that berates you and treats you more violently than the VC ever could? It's fucked man. And Spike Lee won't let you forget that. There's some serious vigor in this film and it's evident throughout.
I damn near teared up at the scene of 'Norman consoling Paul. Witnessing a man that's been violently tortured by his past finding some semblance of closure is always a powerful thing to witness - even in fiction. And Delroy Lindo's powerhouse of a performance felt like a real heavy stab at the heart man. Easily one of the finest performances of the past few years. The rest of the cast is incredible too and I could go on and on about all the aspects of this film that Spike nails because this is truly a fantastic film.
Also fucking ace on replacing that played out Vietnam era music like Gimme Shelter and all of that shit for some Marvin Gaye. The immersion in the experience ran deep after that. I already knew I was going to love the soundtrack to this which is the case for most Spike Lee films when Inner City Blues played over a montage of this not so distant history of America's genocidal past. And speaking of that montage...
I've seen a lot of people claim that it was not needed. It was too graphic. Shock value. All of that shit. But it's needed now more than ever. It's something that almost always comes across as exploitative but it definitely works here. And it's important that viewers confront this reality. History can easily repeat itself as it so often does and people need to fess' up and understand it's blood that laces the red stripes on that fucking flag.
Make America Great Again. Again? Like when? During Nam? No man. Don't be so oblivious.