‘Love one another.’
Another classic Spike Lee joint, the auteur employs his anguish and his confidence throughout the unfolding of Da 5 Bloods. With bold storytelling, in-depth character studies and constant travelling between the past and the present, Lee paints a picture of real tension as four friends journey back to Vietnam on a hunt for their friends remains – and the treasure that they left there so many years prior. However, Lee’s film is much more than just a treasure hunt that pays homage to the likes of Apocalypse Now and The Treasure of Sierra Madre.
Although Da 5 Bloods sometimes feels as though three different films on the same subject matter have been intertwined with each other, this doesn’t take away from what Spike Lee is trying to portray. In fact, the chaos of this approach seems to add to Spike Lee’s message – and for the most part, it is necessary. The combination of aspect ratios (and 16mm film!), transitions between the present day and our characters memories, the appearance of real footage and images from the war itself all work together almost seamlessly to present the interminable continuum of war.
It is also important to note that the performance of Delroy Lindo, especially during his almost-insane monologues, acts as one that almost perfectly represents the torture of PTSD. The deep personal relationships that are at play here, and what becomes of them by the end of the film, reminds audiences that the war is far from over.