Da 5 Bloods Parent Guide
Director Spike Lee has a lot to say in this movie. Unfortunately, he says a lot of it with four letter words.
Parent Movie Review
At the height of the Vietnam war, five African-American soldiers recovered a fortune in gold being shipped by their own government. Seeing an opportunity to strengthen their communities at home, they decide to bury the gold and come back for it when the war ends. Their platoon leader, Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman) was killed during the war, and now, fifty years later, his platoon is coming back to recover his remains…and the gold. But things have changed. Otis (Clarke Peters) has a bad hip, Eddie (Norm Lewis) has had some business problems, and Paul (Delroy Lindo) has refused to seek any treatment for his PTSD, leaving him bitter, angry, and confused. Now that they’re back together, though, things should go just fine… right?
Da Five Bloods represents an ambitious approach to two of the most contested issues in American history: the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement. Taking on both at once explains the two-and-a-half hour runtime – there’s a lot of ground to cover. Surprisingly, this production is less of a directly political film than some of Lee’s other work (say, Do The Right Thing), but it’s one which doesn’t shy away from its political opinions as it explores the characters’ lives. Paul, played by Delroy Lindo, is brought directly to the forefront, as is his relationship with his son David (Jonathan Majors). Unpacking their experiences touches on several political and racial issues, but constantly maintains focus on the all too human aspect of the costs of war and racism.
Now in fairness, Spike Lee’s unique directorial style is not for everyone. It can be jarring if you’re not prepared for it, but I think the results are well worth it. That said, there are also a list of content concerns that make this unsuitable for family viewing. The violence is (I think deliberately) over-the-top, with gouts of CG blood spurting from bullet holes and the stumps of limbs, which definitely makes this a risky choice for viewing while you eat. Much more unpleasant is the documentary footage of real killings, including a clip of one of the self-immolations which occurred at the beginning of the war. Then there is the profanity, which gets to be a lot. The characters drop 134 “f-bombs”, which go well with the real bombs we see in the documentary footage.
But if you navigate between the profanity and gore, there’s an important story being told – another part of Spike Lee’s style. Whether you agree with his positions or not, Lee is worth watching, if for nothing other than his talent behind the camera in shooting smart scenes and pulling incredible performances out of equally talented actors.Directed by Spike Lee. Starring Chadwick Boseman, Jean Reno, and Paul Walter Hauser. Running time: 154 minutes. Theatrical release June 12, 2020. Updated June 12, 2020
Watch the trailer for Da 5 Bloods
Da 5 Bloods
Rating & Content Info
Why is Da 5 Bloods rated R? Da 5 Bloods is rated R by the MPAA for strong violence, grisly images and pervasive language.
Violence: There are a series of firefights in which many people are shot; lots of blood is visible. Several people are killed in large explosions, and some are shown in several pieces. A person is stabbed to death. There is documentary footage from the Vietnam War which includes individuals self-immolating and being shot. There are also pictures of dead children. There is footage of the Kent State shootings.
Sexual Content: There are references to prostitution.
Profanity: There are 134 uses of extreme profanity, 74 uses of scatological cursing, and dozens of mild profanities and terms of deity. There is also repeated use of racial slurs.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are shown drinking at bars. A man is shown drinking from a hip flask.
Page last updated June 12, 2020
Da 5 Bloods Parents' Guide
Paul, along with the other Bloods, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Paul has consistently refused treatment, and as a result, his condition has deteriorated significantly. PTSD is not limited to combat veterans, and affects many people. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has several resources and a list of symptoms here, and the National Institute of Mental Health has similar lists here.
The Vietnam War was disastrous, both for Vietnam and for America. As many as 2 million Vietnamese civilians were killed during the protracted campaign and extended bombing. Nearly 60,000 Americans died during the conflict, along with around 250 million South Vietnamese soldiers. To this day, Vietnam suffers the long-term effects of chemical agents, unexploded ordinance, and land mines. Why did the United States enter into this conflict? How could this have been prevented? Three different presidents, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, each approached the war differently: What did each president change about the American approach? What was consistent?
The movie frequently discusses the disproportionate contribution of African Americans in the US military, specifically during Vietnam. What was going on in the United States during this time? How did the civil rights movement affect the experience of African American soldiers? How did their experience affect the civil rights movement?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
John Lewis recounts his experiences in the civil rights movement in the three part graphic novel March. He has also written a memoir entitled Walking with the Wind. For a more modern take on the plight of African American communities, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is a semi-autobiographical epistolary book focusing on his experience as a black man in America. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is geared more towards young adults and focuses on the story of 16-year-old Starr Carter, who watches a white police officer shoot her childhood friend during a traffic stop.
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Director Spike Lee is well known for his films about race in America. Other films include Do the Right Thing and BlacKkKlansman. More movies about the civil rights movement include Selma, Detroit, Mississippi Burning, and Malcolm X.
Da Five Bloods plays with tropes from classic Vietnam war films, which include Platoon, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, and Rambo: First Blood Part II. A more recent addition to the genre is We Were Soldiers, starring Mel Gibson, and based on Colonel Harold Moore’s autobiography of the same name.