Miracle at St. Anna

Miracle at St. AnnaMiracle_at_St._Anna_film_poster

This was just an interesting idea: Spike Lee combined with WWII history.  It sounds different, right?  It sounded different enough to me to make me want to see this one.  Another recent film by Spike Lee caught me completely by surprise.  That film was “Inside Man” with Denzel Washington – fantastic film, by the way.   I am always proud to admit that Spike Lee’s films always resonate with me.  These are movies you remember, or at least I do.

So, I thought maybe “Miracle” would be another surprise movie.  It was, but it wasn’t nearly as good as I hoped.  There are some memorable characters and some pretty riveting action scenes, but overall it wasn’t quite an EXCELLENT movie.  It was good and certainly worthwhile to watch – just don’t be in a hurry to catch this one.  I think the only real problem with the film was that it was sort of all over the place.

The film starts by showing a sad WWII vet watching “the Longest Day” on TV back in 1983.  He reminds the Duke that “we found for this country too, Pilgrim”.  Suddenly, we follow this gentleman into his work day and he meets someone at his window in the post office that compels him to draw a German Luger and shoot the man dead!  Fast forward into a young reporter trying to interview the man in jail to get his story, where he cryptically says “I know who the Sleeping Man is”.  From here the film zips into full-blown flashback.  The film from here on out takes place back in WWII when the Buffalo Soldiers where fighting in Italy.

I would say that there are probably at least 4 different subplots going on during the WWII portion of the film.  There is the little boy Arturo.  There is the mysterious “Butterfly” and the Nazis who hunt him.  There is Ludevico and his political alliance to Mussolini.  Of course, there is also somewhat of a racial background story involving all the soldiers.  Really though, the subplots take away from the in-depth exploration of these issues.  It gets confusing quickly.  I wish Lee had paced it out longer; I think that would have helped the film.

As I said, it’s a good movie that is longer than it needed to be and had too many subplots going on within it.  The acting is very good – Derek Luke shines.  The writing is also done pretty well – though I have to admit, I was a little confused by the massive use of subtitles.  If you are interested in WWII history, then this film certainly is worth a watch.  It gives you a least a snapshot of an aspect of the War that is hardly ever talked about.  It this way, it reminds me of “Windtalkers” and the American Indians who fought in WWII.

…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE

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