Monday, January 10, 2011

Miracle at St. Anna (2008) R - 3 Stars

After I watched this movie, I was sort of surprised to see Spike Lee's name on it. Having seen many of his movies before, it's a much more subtle message of racial hatred he loves to spread. I think it's a fair depiction of what it meant to be an African American solider, fighting for a country that hated you. Set in 1944 Italy during WWII, is about a group of soldiers who hold onto faith in the darkest of times. The story changes dialog often and varies from Italian, German and English so you have to be prepared to read subtitles that speed too fast across the screen, if you are to stay on track. It's overly long at almost 3 hours and it moves too slowly but it does finally come together in the end. It's loosely based on the true story of the 92nd Infantry - Buffalo Division, and the soldiers who not only had to brave the tragedy of war but did it enduring racial hatred because their skin was black.

The movie jumps back in forth in time and starts out on December 19, 1983, with Corporal Hector Negron, a postal worker for over 30 years, shooting a Peppi Grotta, (Pierfrancesco Favino),  trying to purchase a stamp. Detective Antonio 'Tony' Ricci, (John Turturro), and Tim Boyle, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), are interviewing Negron, trying to understand how this quiet man did such a thing. If you can get past parts that are truly unbelievable ie; Negron having a loaded Luger pistol at work everyday, waiting for revenge on a traitor from his past and a soldier toting around a 30 pound marble bust on his belt while in combat, and try to walk in the shoes of these brave African American soldiers, then I think you can enjoy it as a good war movie.

When the Germans blow up a bridge in Florence, Private First Class Sam Train (Omar Benson Miller), retrieves a marble bust. He wraps it in netting an attaches it to his hip, and rubs it's head constantly for good luck. Along with 2nd Staff Sargent Aubrey Stamps (Derek Luke), Sargent Bishop Cummings, (Michael Ealy), and Corporal Hector Negron, (Laz Alonso), the men begin to believe it does have magic powers as its kept them alive behind German lines. The men, Buffalo Division of the 92nd infantry, have a mission to capture a German soldier and bring him in for questioning.

Private Train, sees a young boy Angelo Torancelli,(Matteo Sciabordi), who wonders into a barn that is blown up. Train is compelled to take this helpless boy with them as they cross the Tuscany's Serchio River, to the Italian village of Colognora. It is there, they discover true humanity in the small village of St. Anna di Stazzema and a girl named Renata (Valentina Cervi).

Awards: 2008 - Houston Film Critics - Best Original Score

Touchstone Pictures, On My Own, 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks
Director: Spike Lee
Writer: James McBride
Producers: Luigi Musini, Roberto Cicutto, Spike Lee
I viewed 5/10

No comments: