The Washington Times - September 26, 2008, 10:44AM

I’d like to add one note to my review of “Miracle at St. Anna,” something I didn’t have room for in the newspaper. Some mild spoilers follow…you’ve been warned.

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Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of white, American characters in “Miracle at St. Anna” are unsympathetic racists; the worst of the lot is Captain Nokes (Walton Goggins, best known as Shane on “The Shield”). He sends his African-American soldiers off to die without a second thought, refuses to believe them when they claim to have crossed the river they were trying to ford, and tosses off casual racial slurs. He is, needless to say, not a likable character.

Near the end of the film, Nokes is killed when the Germans assault the Italian city our protagonists are cooped up in. When Nokes buys the farm, a decent portion of the audience at my preview screening cheered. This by itself is not terribly surprising: If a racist in a Spike Lee movie dies, the audience is going to cheer (especially at a boisterous preview screening).

But look at the particulars: the scene featured an American officer getting blown up by a Nazi. In other words, Spike Lee has made the first American World War II film in which an American crowd openly cheers when the Nazis kill one of their countrymen.

And Spike wonders why no American company wanted to finance his project…