A Netflix Original Picture, Written by Spike Lee, Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Directed by Spike Lee.
Spike Lee has spent his entire career speaking his truth and putting powerful political messages out into the world, and his voice is still as relevant today as it was back in 1989.
The Black Lives Matters movement has really gained momentum again across the globe in the last few weeks following the horrific murder of George Floyd, and rightfully people have had enough of the treatment and are making a collective stand against the establishment.
With all that considered, this is a perfectly timed movie to be dropping on Netflix and it really tackles some important themes.
The film is so packed full of surprises, twists, and really brave plot decisions, that I will not divulge much of the plot at all, and all you need to know is that this is a Spike Lee joint about the African-American experience, both specifically in Vietnam and in general.
The cast is brilliant, with Delroy Lindo standing out with a stunning performance (he should receive awards attention, but he needs to be lead not supporting) and the other main stand outs for me were Clarke Peters, Jonathan Majors, and Chadwick Boseman, in what is essentially an extended cameo for the Black Panther star.
The cinematography, use of aspect ratios, soundtrack, and score are all superb here, and the film effectively mixes real footage with the fictional, just like Lee did to great effect in BlacKkKlansman, and this adds even more to the almost documentary style feeling of the film.
Like most Spike films, it isn’t perfect and arguably has too many ideas thrown in for them all to land, but it doesn’t have to be perfect, and it’s a damn good film.
A note I would like to close on is; the lead 4 actors play themselves in modern day and in the Vietnam war, and the actors are not de-aged or made to look younger. While it is jarring if you’re looking for the realistic experience, and was likely done due to the budgetary concerns, it actually becomes a great choice, leaving Chadwick Boseman’s ‘Norm’ looking even younger in comparison and truly feeling like the ghost among the team, the man amongst them who will never able to grow old.
Rating = 4/5