Spike Lee Explores Themes of Racism, War, and Redemption in ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Ulises Duenas


Da 5 Bloods is a Netflix film directed by Spike Lee that features four Black veterans of the Vietnam War returning to the country in the present day to find and return the remains of their fallen friend, “Stormin’ Norman.” They’re also back in Vietnam to find a cache of gold that they left buried during the war.


This movie covers a lot of ground in its 154-minute runtime with themes of racism, war, greed, brotherhood, redemption and more. Despite some inconsistencies, the performances from the main cast and pacing make it a worthy watch.


The main cast all put in great performances with Delroy Lindo as Paul being the standout. His character is more developed than others, and his scenes towards the end of the film make for some of the most memorable moments in movies this year. The dynamic among the lead characters makes for a convincing portrayal of veterans that have stuck together through the decades.



While Spike Lee can direct scenes focused on dialogue and plot development wonderfully, it’s the action scenes that cause inconsistencies in the film. The action scenes do their job, but the use of subpar special effects brings them down. The flashback scenes also use effective techniques like a different aspect ratio, heavier film grain, and darker shadows to give them an old war footage feel.


It shouldn’t be surprising that a movie by Spike Lee explores themes of race and racism in a thought-provoking way. Da 5 Bloods  opens with war footage and speakers remarking on the historical use of Black soldiers as frontline infantry. The entire plotline about the buried gold is centered around the idea of taking the gold as a way to “stick it to the man” and support their people. Several characters remark about the injustice of Black people not having the same rights as others despite spilling their blood on the battlefield in large numbers through various wars. It’s a perspective rarely explored in war movies, and Lee does such a good job with it that it’ll be impossible to watch any old war footage or war movies the same way again.


Author Bio:


Ulises Duenas is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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