Miracle at St. Anna (Lee, 2008)

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Spike Lee’s a director who can get consumed by the subtext of his work at the cost of basic filmmaking essentials. His Miracle at St. Anna exudes confidence and ambition, but maybe too much for its own good since the end result is a scattered, bloody mess. Spike Lee’s opus subverts War film conventions and attempts to create a parallel between the role of faith and race in documenting Minority history on film. But characters remain distant on a basic human level, while scenes are strung together with short and jarring flashbacks that often fold onto each other at the cost of clear pacing. There are multiple narrative fronts and strange shifts in tone that never tie together in any meaningful way. It’s like a globe-trotting symphony of cliche pushed on the viewer through exquisite production design, hoping we’ll buy into the film’s simplistic vision of moral comeuppance at the cost of logic or continuity. And it doesn’t help that Spike Lee can’t direct a combat scene if his life depended on it, making the already muddy goals of this film close to impenetrable.

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