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Miracle at St. Anna - drama DVD / suspense DVD / action adventure DVD review
MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, Omar Benson Miller, John Turturro
Director: Spike Lee   Studio: Touchstone/Disney
DVD release: 10 February 2009   Runtime: 160 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
DVD Features: Aspect ration 2.40:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English for the Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish)

Spike Lee once publicly complained about Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers, concerned that while there were black U.S. soldiers at Iwo Jima, they were not shown in the film. Lee was in the process of making his WWII epic at the time, depicting the 92nd Infantry Division's Buffalo Soldiers.

Miracle at St. Anna is about several of the Buffalo Soldiers who got in behind enemy lines in 1944. Train (Omar Benson Miller), a big man perhaps too innocent for the job and too simple, picks up a carved marble head in his travels. He believes this will make him invisible, and indeed it does seem to give him some luck. Bishop (Michael Ealy) has lost his faith in God, except where it will provide profit. He's a smooth talker and wouldn't mind putting an notch or two on his belt while in Italy. Negron (Laz Alonso), seems to be the most rational of the bunch. Stamps (Derek Luke) believes in fighting for America - if not for himself, then for his children and his grandchildren, who will hopefully no longer be second-class citizens.

This is what Spike Lee does best: providing several angles of the black perspective. These men are granted the privilege of dying for their country, yet they can't get served at the counter in an American cafe. German POWs are afforded this, but not black Americans? The Buffalo Soldiers are treated well in Italy, even better than their own country has treated them. They wonder if the propaganda Axis Sally spins is at least partly true.

The Buffalo Soldiers of the 92nd Infantry Division fought for the U.S. in hopes that they'd return to a grateful nation. Unfortunately, it would be many more years before America would embrace them. This is a dark part of our past, and it's not entirely over; there are still a lot of hard feelings. Watch Miracle at St. Anna to see a piece of black history that needs to be acknowledged, lest we forget.

The standard DVD edition lacks any special features save sneak peeks of other films. Go Blu-ray if you're able.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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