Spike Lee’s newest film, Da 5 Bloods, dances back and forth between Vietnam during the war, and contemporary times. It follows a small platoon of soldiers who buried gold during the conflict, and choose to return to Vietnam in present day to find the stash, and smuggle it out of the country. The gold isn’t the primary objective: These men are also paying tribute to their fallen leader (Chadwick Boseman), who died in combat.
As the movie seamlessly glides between past and present, though, something we normally see on screen changes. The actors hired by Spike Lee to play his five “Bloods” in the movie stay in character in the flashbacks, instead of being replaced by younger actors with striking resemblances. It’s not jarring in the least bit. In fact, it’s a welcome creative decision. And when CinemaBlend spoke with Da 5 Bloods cast about it, Delroy Lindo elaborated:
It’s an excellent creative choice, and one I can’t recall seeing done that often (if ever before). There are distinct ways that Spike Lee lets the audience know that we are in the flashback. Usually it’s the involvement of Chadwick Boseman’s character, who we know from the get go is no longer with us. But giving this cast the chance to play the younger versions of their layered characters adds so much depth to the movie. Press play on this and listen to Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Norm Lewis elaborate on the director’s choice:
Da 5 Bloods is essential cinema – even more that we’d normally equate with a Spike Lee film. The master storyteller is ticking every box in this Netflix film, and we advise you to make time in the immediate future to watch it once it drops on the streaming service on June 12.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.