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There are three performances here that I hope will be remembered later this year, but one I am sure will be forgotten. Delroy Lindo has been one of the most underappreciated actors of his generation. He was ignored by his own studio for A Cider House Rules, by the Emmys for his role in The Good Fight, and his performance in Lee’s Clockers is now legendary. He carries the film with a burning intensity and ferocious anger that demands to be heard. Jonathan Majors, so unfairly ignored during awards season last year for The Last Black Man in San Francisco, is undeniably moving. Lastly, Clarke Peters, who starred in Lee’s Red Hook Summer, juggles being a stoic, calming presence, and then delivering dialogue that cuts deep and often; the man deserves more screen time like this in major films.
Like many of Lee’s movies — you can spot a dozen or so through his filmography — Da 5 Bloods can be heavy-handed instead of letting the power of message sneak up on you, a point I would argue was much more effective in BlacKkKlansman. That is a flaw here when it magnifies the foreshadowing where you know what will happen well before it transpires. Those are average complaints and the positives far outperform the negatives. I imagine some will complain about the film having flashback scenes of the four main characters looking as they are in the recent day — old, wrinkled, and grey next to a young Boseman. What you have to remember here is this part of the story is a basic memory play, remembering Norman the way he was left, and the squad putting themselves back in the battlefield.
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M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.