Da 5 Bloods (2020)

As a script writer for hire, UK Script editor  and UK script consultant I don’t really make Oscar predictions (or care particularly about the Oscar’s) but I’ll put this here for all to see, Delroy Lindo’s performance in Da 5 Bloods deserves an Oscar, it’s a hard, and at time unpleasant performance to watch. A portrait of a man racked with guilt, and sent half mad by being a black American veteran.  So insane his character – he even voted for Trump.

Da 5 Bloods is Spike’s best film in a while.  No spoilers, but it deserves as big an audience as possible on Netflix.  It’s massively timely, and proof that Spike has been reading from the same hymn sheet as the Black Lives Matter movement his entire career.

There are some nice directorial touches (the elderly actors play themselves as young men in flashbacks) one characters carries (a lovely) old school Super 8mm camera (looks like a Leicina? – nice) and also photographs the journey back to the Vietnamese jungle on a 35mm analogue film camera.   

The film at times changes ratio (the format in which you see it), to suggest older times.  The colour photography is lovely, and Spike uses some of the widest lenses in his career to capture the vastness of the landscape.

Some of the scenes and performances suggest a lot of improvisation, with actors given free reign within the character and story boundaries – Lindo, riffs on his character, who moves to tragedy before the journey is over.

It’s a long film that feels short, and will improve on repeat viewings. After watching it, I wanted to see CLOCKERS again.  ‘Clockers’ is a brilliant film (probably better than this) and Delroy Lindo gives another performance in that film that deserved much wider acclaim. Clockers feels like the place these Vietnam vets found themselves in when they returned home and stewed for a while.  An America that pits blood against blood, and like Vietnam, nobody gets out alive (or with their sanity intact).

‘Da 5 Bloods’ and’ Clockers’ would make a great double bill. Spike is, and always has been a major force in mainstream film.  That’s the truth Ruth.

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire, UK Script editor  and UK script consultant for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. His UK script coverage service and script development service are highly sought after.

You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb.His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller Markham will be released in 2020. You can find out more about Matthew’s work as a director here.

You can get in touch with Matthew on matcoop23@yahoo.co.uk.