Miracle at St. Anna chronicles the story of four American soldiers who are members of the all-black 92nd "Buffalo Soldier" Division stationed in Tuscany, Italy during World War II.
The Bells toll, red and white crosses appear on the screen, and I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t decide whether I was nervous or anxious for what I was about to see. My father sitting next to me offered me his coat saying that when seeing a war movie its better to be warm because it reminds you that you are here, and not in the movie. Then, the opening seen starts. It is winter, 1983, in Harlem, New York. A man with a distinct accent walks up to the counter of the post office asking to buy some stamps. The recognition on his face is not nearly as frightening as of the manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s behind the counter. My heart stops as the man behind the counter reaches behind his back, reappears with a gun, and shoots the other man in the chest. Blood sprayed all over the white marble, and I had a feeling this wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be the last of it. As the story progresses, we learn that the man behind the counterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name is Hector Negron, who fought in the 92nd Infantry Divisions. The most shocking discovery came when the detectives and the journalist found the head of a priceless statue. And so, as quickly as it came, we leave the 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s for a bloodier time era that will seem to dominate the screen for the next hour and a half.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want this to be a big spoiler, so I will mention some deep thinking points the movie made. First and foremost, was the whole idea of good verses evil in this movie. We enter the movie seeing a group of black soldiers trudging through a field in the Tuscan country side. They are soon under attack by the Germans, and my stomach lurches as I see the number of American soldiers who are shot down by the rows. The taste of bile saturates my mouth as I see the stream run red, literally with blood. Yet, my heart lurches with joy as we see four soldiers survive the attack. Instead of turning back as many of us would have done, honor overtakes their fear as they willingly cross the stream towards the German enemies. Compassion is shown also by these soldiers when they find a young, sick boy, and take him to the nearest village where they end up fighting, and (all but one) dying for American freedom and democracy.
However, this seemingly heroic movie that seems destined for a happy ending, takes a drastic turn in a different direction. This is no Ã¢â‚¬Å“band of brothersÃ¢â‚¬Â where good overcomes evil. From the very first scene to the last, in the WWII era, we are clearly shown the horrors of racism, when the Germans attempt to use this against the Americans. Also, Spike Lee does an amazing job at looking at the idea of good verses bad during this war, and the role propaganda has played. Throughout the war, the government has used propaganda as a way to create the enemy as terrorists. We see this when the American soldiers tear down the German propaganda describing Americans as monsters. We come to believe that the enemyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only goals and satisfaction in this war is the killing of our soldiers. Thus, this false image is created that all of the enemy are the purest and most dreaded type of evil. This is why we find it justifiable when we shoot and kill one of their soldiers, because Ã¢â‚¬Å“if we hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, they would have done the same to us.Ã¢â‚¬Â And, if God forbid they ever shoot one of our soldiers, then they actually enjoyed doing it and are, as I already mentioned, the most extremist form of evil. However, what we fail to realize, is that they are fighting for the same reasons we are. They are ordered to fight; they wish to protect their families, homes, and honor; and if they do not we will destroy them. This is shown to us in the movie, when the German soldier risks, and ends up loosing, his life to help Angelo and his brother escape from the massacre of the people of St. Anna. The German soldier said that Angelo reminds him of his little brother. Through this we can see that the enemy is human just like us, and even though there is some evil acts (I can guarantee that when you see the slaughtering of children, mothers, and the elders of the village, you will feel as sick as I did.) we should not let this overshadow the fact that good can exists on both sides if we allow ourselves to acknowledge it. Another part in the movie, where it shows just how alike we are, is when everyone says the same prayer in their own language. This represents that we (the Germans, Americans, and Italians townspeople) are all united and alike in many ways, no matter how hard we try to fight it.