Sunday, October 05, 2008
Miracle At St. Anna
Spike Lee goes to war and leaves me confused. The film starts out in the 80's when a postal worker, working at his window, shoot a customer point blank in the chest. The police discover the head of an Italian statue in his apartment and he refuses to explain the head or his actions. A few scenes later and we flashback to Italy in WWII where the majority of the film takes place.
The story centers on a group of four African American soldiers who become separated behind enemy lines. What starts out as a war story about the Buffalo soldiers division soon turns into a more intimate tale of these four men and their impact on the Italian village where they are hiding from the Germans.
Early on there is a massacre at a river and while it doesn't equal the ferocity of the opening moments of "Saving Private Ryan", it certainly makes it's point. Mr. Lee actually drills his point home as the camera lingers far too long over the dead soldiers floating in the bloody river. His characters are stereotypes of almost any war movie including the over the top racist Major.
Eventually we learn why the postal worker kills the customer and along the way there is much death and destruction. The ending, while obvious, is still too easy and I'm still left wondering why a postal worker would bring a gun to work everyday, much less get away with hiding it under his counter.
I admire Mr. Lee's past work but this project is very ambitious and could have been shorter, tighter, and more cohesive.