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If you have to stream one Netflix movie this 4th of July, watch this one

Da 5 Bloods on Netflix
Netflix

The Fourth of July is, at least on paper, a day when we all come together to celebrate the pride of being an American. In 2024, though, regardless of what you believe, being proud of America is a fraught topic. To be proud of America means different things to different people, and what side you fall on may say a lot about what you ultimately believe.

One of the best ways to celebrate the day, though, is to find a movie that is thoughtful about America and the legacy our nation has built. Netflix has many movies like that to choose from, but Da 5 Bloods may be the ideal way to spend the holiday. Following Black Vietnam War veterans who return to the country decades later in search of buried treasure, the film is as wild as it sounds. Here are three reasons why it’s the perfect way to spend the holiday.

It’s an honest representation of American history

Da 5 Bloods | Official Trailer | Netflix

Da 5 Bloods is political, but not in the polemical way you might expect. Instead, the movie’s central character is a Black Trump supporter who spends much of the movie sporting a MAGA hat. Writer and director Spike Lee seems to understand the mounting frustration this man has experienced throughout his life, and why he wants to channel that frustration into tearing everything down.

Delroy Lindo’s central performance helps immensely, as does the honest reckoning the movie attempts with the gruesome way Black men were often used as recently as the Vietnam War.

It’s plenty entertaining in its own right

Five Black soldiers joining hands and looking at the camera in Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods.
Netflix

In addition to being thoughtful about current events, Da 5 Bloods is also a wickedly entertaining movie about four older men who are trying to recapture the complicated feelings they have about their time in the service. The movie’s brilliance comes in part from the way it refuses to reduce the experience these men had to any one thing.

Vietnam could be horrible and beautiful, and that experience is reflected in each of our central characters. The movie is ultimately about reckoning with a past that is often far less idyllic than we might want it to be, even as we continue to make mistakes well into the present. It’s also one of Lee’s funniest movies.

Few directors have better visual sense than Spike Lee

Da 5 Bloods - Minefield Scene

On top of its smart writing, Da 5 Bloods is also one of the most strikingly beautiful movies that Lee has ever made. Featuring on-location settings in Vietnam, plenty of references to other great Vietnam movies, and beautiful natural cinematography, the movie rarely misses a beat.

It also makes no effort to deploy de-aging technology for its flashback sequences, instead simply allowing the old men at the movie’s center to play younger versions of themselves. It’s a small choice, but one that works in the movie’s favor.

Da 5 Bloods is streaming on Netflix.

Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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