Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods ★★★½

This is a conflicting one to think about. Its release is serendipitously timed given the ongoing civil unrest in this country regarding racial equality. Referencing how deeply entrenched systemic racism has been in this country for so long through the friendships, memories, and traumas of Vietnam War veterans was quite effective. I also found the plot generally engaging and the character conceptualization well-realized, buoyed by some very strong performances (especially the father-son tandem of Delroy Lindo and Jonathan Majors). Spike Lee clearly knew the story he wanted to tell and how to bring it to life, and that shows.

Unfortunately, I also found that several editorial choices hindered this film's strengths from truly shining. Exposition with brutal imagery (mostly in the opening sequence but then seemingly haphazardly sprinkled throughout) was distracting. Showing them a few times is understandable for us to remember our past in order to hopefully never do it again, but the repetitious nature cheapens this effect. I also simply did not get what Lee and company were thinking with the score. Combining moments of violence and tension with what I would describe as almost cheery music took me out of them. This also applies to the numerous flashbacks: some were more relevant than others, but there was no discernible organization in how they were presented.

Overall, I just thought these choices made the tone inconsistent and detracted from the film's powerful messages. Nevertheless, I think this film was thought-provoking and definitely worth a watch.

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