Hughes: “America was never America to me” — A story of Vietnam vets miles away from their American home—yet somehow not very far. Sam Machkovech – Jun 19, 2020 2:15 pm UTC Enlarge / Da 5 Bloods, now playing on Netflix.Thirty-one years ago, Spike Lee’s breakout film Do The Right Thing forced audiences around the world to confront the realities of police injustice perpetrated upon African Americans. The fictional film chronicled a full day in New York City’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood and ended with a police officer choking a black man to death in front of the entire neighborhood. It was a statement film for many reasons, and one was its ability to weave real-life trauma into the story, whether by flashing back to stock footage of atrocities or by having characters call out African American leaders’ quotes and philosophies. Lee’s work takes particular care to make sure truth and fiction never stray far from each other—and if that 1989 film seems painfully relevant now, remember that it was firm in calling out decades of all-too-familiar headlines back then, too. While Lee’s latest film, the Netflix exclusive Da 5 Bloods, takes its story half a world away from America, its shadow of oppression remains as pronounced, affecting, and complicated as in any of Lee’s most acclaimed works—and it takes advantage of Netflix’s platform to do so in particularly uncompromising fashion. No age-defying CGI to be found Da 5 Bloods, which is equal parts heist, war story, and bloody reckoning, follows four black US Army veterans who had a particular Vietnam War tour in common. During the war, they stumbled upon an incredible fortune, though one of their unit’s members didn’t make it back. The public explanation for their trip is to find, recover, and bury their friend. They’re quieter about the
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