St. Anna?s; another classic Spike Lee joint

Briaune Knighton

Spike Lee’s ‘Miracle at St. Anna’s’ is a heroic and shocking film about a black battalion in Italy during World War II. The film, based on James McBride’s novel of the same name, begins in 1983 when a postal worker shoots a customer in the chest in Harlem. As the police investigate the postal worker, Hector Negron, played by Laz Alonso, they discover a rare artifact tucked away in a crumpled Macy’s bag that connects all the way back to when the Nazis blew up a Florentine bridge in WWII. A young reporter visits the postal worker in jail to get the story on the murder, but leaves with more than he expected as Negron tells him the tale of four members of the 92nd Infantry-Buffalo Soldiers, which consisted of soldiers of color, and how they make their way through Italy defending civilians and fighting Nazi soldiers.

The film was a very moving display of WWII that has not been told before. Despite the fact that soldiers of color were definitely present during this war, one rarely sees them portrayed on the silver screen. Spike Lee creatively showed this side of the war by following four soldiers through their interactions with their fellow white soldiers and how racism was still very prevalent. Lee also captures the destructiveness of Nazi German soldiers on Europe, through showing them completely wiping out large groups of people without remorse.

The acting in the film was great. Lee did a great job of putting together a group of actors with different styles and making them blend extremely well. For instance Renata, an Italian woman in the film, played by Valentina Cervi, was a character that spoke some English but mostly Italian in the film, but the connection was definitely felt between her and Staff Sgt. Aubrey Stamps, played by Derek Luke, and Sgt. Bishop Cummings, portrayed by Michael Ealy. Luke’s acting was very moving and had the tendency to capture the audiences attention despite what was going on the film.

Overall, the film was captivating to watch. Lee used every minute he could to tell this very complex story. The film seems to tell three stories in one; one of the war, one of the soldiers and the affects of the war on the people of Italy. All of the stories were stitched together seamlessly. Viewers may begin to feel like they are there with the soldiers; fighting their struggles and experiencing their pain.