Monday, September 29, 2008

DJG / Miracle at St. Anna

Miracle at St. Anna * * * *
Directed by: Spike Lee / 2008

For over twenty years director Spike Lee has been leading up to the point in his celebrated career to make a movie like "Miracle at St. Anna". Whether telling historical events, perceptions and truths on culture or society through fiction/non-fiction film or straight documentary, Spike Lee has not been one to go the direct route. However, it's the route that has to be taken and I respect and appreciate that greatly. He might come off as a hard headed, hot wired, push button instigator to some, but I see him as a ballsy straight shooter who hammers home messages and reminders artistically, inventively and with enough fat to chew on for days to follow. In his own fashion, Spike Lee makes the movies that Spike Lee wants to make and he typically delivers on target and is one of the medium's most gifted users of it. "Miracle at St. Anna" not only celebrates all of Spike Lee's gifts, but also leaves you with the biggest bounty of treasure to take home with. This mature, multi-layered, epic World War II picture is rich and so thick with plot that at times I found myself easily shell shocked from everything in development, yet the picture blooms, booms and delivers. By the end of the near three hour ensemble I was in near exhaustion and the GOOD kind of exhaustion for a film of this magnitude and topic(s). This picture plays beyond the multiplex, carrying over a lot of spiritual depth, insight, importance, history and life with it. Spike Lee told Oprah last week that there are actually eighteen miracles and I believe him, though I didn't really catch them all. "Miracle at St. Anna" needs to be seen and absorbed (maybe several times) as every little bit of patience and detail included are placed there for a reason and the bits and pieces that do flesh out and digest truly unfold and form something remarkable. In the end Spike Lee didn’t make a perfect movie nor did he make his best, and perhaps with a little bit more editing and time I think he could have. And I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a couple of Oscar nods with this one. But, all that aside, “Miracle at St. Anna” is more than about movie making, even if it does find Spike Lee combining all of his “Joints” to make a work of art near the top of his game, or any director’s game for that matter. It’s a game that I look forward to see continue to develop because Spike Lee has a lot to share with us and he is appearing it in greater form and bounty than ever before.


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