At last night’s the Coen Bros./Burn After Reading party I asked a journo pal who’s seen Spike Lee‘s Miracle at St. Anna if it really needed to be 166 minutes. (Some movies, like Steven Soderbergh‘s 260-minute Che or Sidney Lumet‘s 168-minute Prince of the City, really need long running times to achieve the goals they’ve set out to achieve.) And the guy said no, it doesn’t. Spike’s tendency to over-underline is in full force here, he said.
Then I spoke this morning to another journo who’s seen it also, and he said the same thing: “It should have been two hours at most, and it’s not that good to begin with.” I’m still looking forward to this World War II/Tuscany/little kid movie — all Spike Lee joints command my attention — but these two comments were why I passed on today’s showing and went off to write instead. You have to make calls like this all the time during a festival of this size and scope. The question isn’t “is it any good or not?” but “does it absolutely have to be seen here?”