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.