A lot of words come to mind when discussing Spike Lee's work as
a director: "bold," "daring," "controversial"—the list goes on.Twenty five years of directing hasn’t dulled his edge,
and Lee remains as much a director to watch today as he was a decade ago.Even his most strikingly bad movies have been
filled with some of the strongest, most visceral images ever put to
celluloid.Unfortunately, Miracle at St. Anna adds a new word to
Lee’s vocabulary, one that many thought would never be there: "boring."
The film’s setup feels like it should be a cakewalk for Lee, one he could put through his head and pull out something new and extraordinary.It focuses on the all-black 92nd
Infantry Division during WWII.The group
is sent into battle because of poor (white) leadership and is mostly decimated, but a
small group crosses enemy lines.They’re told to search for intelligence by
interrogating a German soldier and along the way find themselves within the
heart of Italian culture with custody of a little boy.While this setup is fine, it isn’t
sufficient for 160 minutes of film, and St. Anna
ends up bifurcated between war epic and small drama, letting the viewer
down on both fronts.