Spike Lee’s ‘Miracle at St. Anna’ a Bloody Mess

Last night I watched a Spike Lee movie. It was terrible, and it was very long. Amazingly, I kept on until the bitter end, until the last bullet hole was drilled into a body with spurting blood, until the final Nazi machine gunner was thrown down and the last leg stump made an appearance.

It was “Miracle at St. Anna,” a World War two movie filmed near a town in Tuscany where we stayed for a week a few years ago. I wanted to see those scenes from a familiar place, Barga, but this film was one of the goriest and bloodiest I’ve ever sat through.

The plot is far too complicated to try to explain, but it starts with a murder in a post office and takes the long way to explain why this was justified, if revenge for even worse previous deeds is worth it. The usual Lee rancor over ancient racism comes up here, as we are taken back to the Jim Crow south where blacks can’t get served. But this time Lee comes back with a vengance, having the soldiers who were denied ice cream storm back with guns drawn to make that stupid cracker give them some respect.

And did I mention the shooting, bombing and carnage? Somebody turned that up a notch, Lee even combines a bare bloody breast with dying babies who get stabbed by evil Nazis. It goes on and on, and somehow, on a beach in the Bahamas, it’s all supposed to tie together. It doesn’t.