For more than 30 years Spike Lee has proven to be a filmmaker that is willing to use movies as a way to speak on hot button issues.
And while Lee hasn't always hit the mark, when he does it has resulted in some powerful cinema - "Do the Right Thing," "Malcolm X," "Get on the Bus" and "Blackkklansman" to name a few.
His latest film "Da 5 Bloods" is right up there with "Do the Right Thing" and "Malcolm X" as one of Lee's best works of his career. It's a powerful film that like "Malcolm X" feels more like a time capsule with a message that resonates today.
"Da 5 Bloods" tells the story of four African American Vietnam veterans - Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) - who return to Vietnam in present day to search for the remains of their fallen squad leader Norman (Chadwick Boseman).
Finding Norman's remains isn't the only thing the four friends are back in Vietnam for. There is also a chance to recover a lost shipment of gold that was briefly in their platoons possession but was lost during the battle that killed Norman.
Paul's son David (Jonathan Majors) joins the four men on their quest, which becomes as much about wrestling with the scars left behind from the war as it is about finding Norman and the treasure.
In "Da 5 Bloods" Lee takes the way Hollywood has depicted the Vietnam War in films like "Platoon," "First Blood," and "Apocalypse Now" (including a scene that will mirrors the last film's iconic scene) and combines it with the elements of a heist picture to create a powerful statement about racial injustice and inequality.
It's a cinematic history lesson, with Lee bringing the struggles of these men into the spotlight - while showing how much those struggles are still in the forefront today.
The film features powerful imagery throughout, with Lee's lens allowing us to peer into this world unfiltered, building to an explosive final act that only drives home "Da 5 Bloods" powerful message.
The cast is outstanding as well, but it's Lindo who really stands out in a performance that is Oscar worthy. His work here is extraordinary, with Lindo so effective that we really feel and understand the pain and emotional scars from his time on the battlefield - and how returning home only led to more battles.
Lindo's performance alone makes "Da 5 Bloods" well worth your time, but fortunately the film offers so much more. It offers us a chance to see Lee at the top of his craft, creating 2020's first true Oscar contender.