Miracle at St. Anna

Dir. Spike Lee; Writ. James McBride; Star. Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, Omar Benson Miller; Guest Star. John Turturro, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Leguizamo

Miracle is a fatigued WWII flick smoking a weak Spike Lee joint.

At twenty minutes short of three hours, this movie needed an extra three. It’s more of an extremely short miniseries misplaced on the big screen. Messy and disjointed, the hodgepodge of ideas in this movie go every which way. But, I would say, there are two main story arcs. They’re not exactly woven together, but at least they have the same setting.

1. There is an all black, “buffalo soldier” regiment in Tuscany during WWII. Due to a captain’s racism, four soldiers find themselves holed up in a mountain town, surrounded by Nazi forces on all sides. A priceless statue head and a struggling orphan are picked up along the way.

2. A small Tuscan village copes with the ending of the War. Italy has signed the armistice. A group of Partisans fight the Nazi remnants. Some horrible event from the past haunts them.

Both these stories could have made a great movie. One sidled against the other though, doesn’t exactly pan out.

Fodder for a race movie is there, but it is poorly addressed and left unresolved. With such little depth, the black protagonists come off as stereotypes I wouldn’t have expected in a Spike Lee film.

The actual “miracle” is gut-wrenching. It is also completely unattached to the film’s protagonists.

In the end, Lee tries to connect the two stories. It’s a huge letdown. Nazis are so evil; American WWII soldiers are so heroic; and an old Tuscan mountain town is so ripe for a gun fight. The end is a rough draft, boring and easy.

B-

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3 responses to “Miracle at St. Anna

  • mcdufrechou

    I wanted to say this, but didn’t want to add anymore to the post: The beginning is really good. Though it seemed a bit unnatural, the start of this film was so light and jovial. It was an interesting and fun contrast.

    Also, before the story takes off, there are fascinating bits dealing with difference between fate and chance. It was really stimulating. I was disappointed when it was left mostly untouched in the end.

    Too much deus ex machina in the epilogue.

  • C. West

    So, I missed this one — didn’t register on the old radar. Watched the trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcKPi5DyGWs) and I’m intrigued.
    After reading your review and then seeing the trailer, I can imagine where the problems occur…
    Was there some fantasy in the plot? Magic? You know what I mean — “feel the magic, all you have to do is believe in it” and then the religious elements I saw in the trailer.

  • mcdufrechou

    There was a little.

    Did you see 10,000 BC or Fievel Goes West? Respectively, the sabretooth tiger rock or the friendly cat’s matching silhouette scenes? Miracle has a little of that.

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