Needing a Miracle at St. Anna

Miracle at St. Anna. Don’t know about the novel it was based on, but I’m a sucker for historical fiction. One coworker didn’t like the novel, saying something about the Italian government denying the film version of the story. Okay. Given the number of times God’s name is envoked, it seemed pretty clear that Spike Lee isn’t so much about the history, especially when they do the synchronized-praying scene. Somewhere during the naked racism of the American commanders and the defeated starving Germans hoping to bluff their way to victory, it became clear to me that this was a parable about the meaninglessness of war. Spoiler Alert: Even though the last survivor is miraculously saved from his fate, it’s an empty survival because everything he’s loved from the three war buddies to his wife are gone. I’m sure it’s meant to be a happy ending, but as an older person, I find it to be a downer. He’ll never get back the years he’s lost. Add to that that the sacrifices that he and his generation made have been squandered and left to a generation who has no concept of duty or sacrifice. The story is all but swallowed by the deafening roar of empty bellecose gangster ethics. No amount of flag waving can hide the fact that these are lives wasted, by those who leave us too soon and by the hollowed out souls who survive the bloodshed.

BTW, as a whole, I loved the movie, though it was very uneven in it’s pace and plot and the trailer was very misleading in that it makes one believe that this small group of soldiers behind enemy lines are going to over-come the regiment of Nazis coming up the hill. Some things felt too anachronistic. Also the overall message (beyond the ending that felt tacked on), seemed to be almost anti-Lord of the Rings, in that the sacrifices of these four soldiers did not matter in the long run, didn’t change the course of the war and would have been completely lost to history had it not been for the post-office shooting 39-years later. jbb