Miracle at St. Anna

( 5 )

Overview

Spike Lee's World War II film Miracle at St. Anna begins in 1983 with Hector Negron, a veteran of that war, unexpectedly shooting a customer dead. Police discover that the suspect, a quiet postal worker, kept a statue head worth millions of dollars in his apartment. An eager young reporter Joseph Gordon-Levitt interviews Negron in his cell about the mysterious artifact. While serving in the all-minority 92nd "Buffalo Soldier" Division, Negron and three comrades managed to sneak deep into enemy territory in Italy....
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Overview

Spike Lee's World War II film Miracle at St. Anna begins in 1983 with Hector Negron, a veteran of that war, unexpectedly shooting a customer dead. Police discover that the suspect, a quiet postal worker, kept a statue head worth millions of dollars in his apartment. An eager young reporter Joseph Gordon-Levitt interviews Negron in his cell about the mysterious artifact. While serving in the all-minority 92nd "Buffalo Soldier" Division, Negron and three comrades managed to sneak deep into enemy territory in Italy. One of the men, Sam Train Omar Benson Miller, picked the head up while they were serving in Florence and believes it brings him good luck. Negron Laz Alonso, Train, and Bishop Cummings Michael Ealy, along with their sergeant, Aubrey Stamps Derek Luke, take refuge in the Italian village of St. Anna, harbored by locals who are resisting the Nazis -- who themselves surround the area. Train also protects an injured Italian boy he discovers while investigating a seemingly abandoned dwelling. Eventually, the soldiers make contact with their superiors, and are ordered to capture a German so that he may be interrogated about an upcoming attack. Lee adapted Miracle at St. Anna from a novel by James McBride, who also penned the screenplay.
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Special Features

Deeds Not Words - pull up a chair wirh director Spike Lee and WWII veterans as they share their experiences; The Buffalo Soldier Experience - trace the history of the Buffalo Soldier and hear rare, firsthand accounts; Deleted scenes
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Despite Spike Lee's carefully cultivated reputation as a firebrand and provocateur, his films have always betrayed the heart of a classicist. Directing Miracle at St. Anna, the biggest-budgeted mainstream movie yet about the experiences of African-American soldiers in World War II, doesn't phase the audacious Lee in the slightest. He opens the film in 1983 with the main character watching John Wayne in The Longest Day and responding to the Duke's outsized American-ness with quiet pride the flip side of Public Enemy's assault on him in "Fight the Power". Lee addresses the ghosts of both American movies and American history throughout the film's two-hour-and-fourty-minute running time, but what makes the movie work is his commitment to traditional notions of story and character. Miracle at St. Anna is the opposite of a polemic, it's a generous, old-fashioned entertainment. Some long films feel bloated because the director deliberates over the grand themes, but Miracle at St. Anna clocks in at 160 minutes simply because, like a great beach novel, it's chock-full of story. The elaborate -- but never confusing -- plot involves a ghost, Italian resistance fighters, a love triangle, racial prejudice, war atrocities, and priceless artifacts. The movie adopts a novelistic approach where the sequences play like chapters that each develop the characters and the various storylines simultaneously, without once confusing or boring the audience. Screenwriter and novelist James McBride deserves credit for the elegant structure, but Lee and his editor can take a bow for giving each sequence weight without hampering the film's flow. Thankfully, every aspect of the production is as spot-on as the structure: Terence Blanchard's score alternates between aching beauty and martial intensity, Matthew Libatique's cinematography is varied and engrossing, and Lee's compositions continually showcase his innate ability to express sensuality -- the man knows how to photograph people. Everybody involved gets a moment to stand out, but none of the individual excellence announces itself with signs of "Look at how important all of this is!" pretentiousness. This is an unapologetically emotional, confident, and entertaining movie that is by turns funny, heartbreaking, shamelessly tearjerking, and nail-bitingly tense. The film could be mistaken for being nothing more than Oscar bait -- aggressively middle-brow fare that seems "important" simply because it tackles such weighty themes -- but Lee is far too idiosyncratic a filmmaker to strive for something as banal as that. Instead, Miracle at St. Anna feels exactly like the kind of film Spike Lee himself would enjoy watching, and the man does have excellent taste in movies.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/10/2009
  • UPC: 786936786729
  • Original Release: 2008
  • Rating:

  • Source: Touchstone / Disney
  • Region Code: A
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Language: Fran├žais
  • Time: 2:40:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 40,722

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Derek Luke 2nd Staff Sergeant Aubrey Stamps
Michael Ealy Sergeant Bishop Cummings
Laz Alonso Corp. Hector Negron, Hector Negron
Omar Benson Miller Private First Class Sam Train
Valentina Cervi Renata
Matteo Sciabordi Angelo Torancelli -- the Boy
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Tim Boyle
John Turturro Detective "Tony" Ricci
John Leguizamo Enrico
Kerry Washington Zana Wilder
D.B. Sweeney Colonel Driscoll
Robert John Burke General Ned Almond
Omari Antonutti Huggs
Omero Antonutti Ludovico
Sergio Albelli Rodolfo
Alexandra Maria Lara Axis Sally
Pierfrancesco Favino Pepi "the Great Butterfly" Grotta
Technical Credits
Spike Lee Director, Producer
Terence Blanchard Score Composer
Barry Alexander Brown Editor
Roberto Cicutto Producer
Kim Taylor Coleman Casting
Jon Kilik Executive Producer
Beatrice Kruger Casting
Matthew J. Libatique Cinematographer
Marco Libatique Executive Producer
James McBride Screenwriter
Luigi Musini Producer
Carlo Piggioli Costumes/Costume Designer
Carlo Poggioli Costumes/Costume Designer
Marco Valerio Pugini Executive Producer
Donato Tieppo Art Director
Tonino Zera Production Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Superb!

    Miracle at St. Anna is a wonderful film adaptation of the novel which inspired it. There are however two things which really turned me off. The first occurs at the beginning of the film when Director Lee shows one of the main characters watching John Wayne in "The Longest Day" on tv. Mr. Lee use this as an opportunity to bash John Wayne and make a racial statement which is uncalled for & has absolutely nothing to do with the story. The second is the "jump here/jump there" filming which make s the story difficult to follow. Beyond that is the obligatory nudity & sex scene which again has nothing to do with the story. Better editing might have remedied that however the sweeping visuals, beautiful location, acting & suspense take up the slack. In conclusion I give the film 4 out of 5 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't take my eyes off of it!

    My father IS a WWII vet and has a difficult time sharing much of what he experiended in Europe. This movie inspires me to find out historical facts related to that particular time in our history and I wanted to thank everyone who made it possible for us to see it through this particular medium.

    Aside from that significant personal point of reference, the movie is good. Better than good.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Strong and a great story

    This movie is a must see. You have to stay with it or you will loose the reasons for the way it is put together.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic War Movie , An Epic of our Time

    It was one of a few films I have seen that actually followed the plot as it is writen in the book. A little long for viewing but they managed to do it tastefully and the actors and plot were exceptional. The visualization was excellent and the scenery fantastic. I bought two copies of the movie and cherish them and they shall remain a favorite of mine for years to come. It is on par with A Soldiers Story. both portray the African American soldier as it truly was back then. My father served in the army and the movie only served to confirm the facts of life in the Amry for the black man in World War II. We need more of these films to show our children and let them know we are proud to be American and very much participate in protecting the freedoms we so readily enjoy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews