The Monuments Men – 2014

Director George Clooney
Starring Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bob Balaban, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, Jean Dujardin
Screenplay Grant Heslov and Clooney based on the book by Robert M. Edsel

Monuments Men tells the story of those who paid attention in the midst of a war.  So many people displaced, wounded and killed would be enough to set civilization back hundreds of years.  If we’d lost all the artwork that Hitler had his eye on, who knows how far back we would be as people.  George Clooney knows and appreciates the efforts made bu some non-traditional soldiers who left the comfort of their lives behind and undertook the effort of tracking down the works and, if possible, rescuing them.

The story is one of those “mostly true” accounts where a bunch of likeable actors go through the motions, show up in a few places of historical significance, sacrifice a few people at the end of the credits (bye-bye, Bonneville, and welcome to the rest of your American film career, Dujardin) and then with a heavy heart, the rest of the team accomplishes its mission in the nick of time.

If it sounds like I am slighting a major subject, I don’t mean to.  I am happy for the effort Clooney and his team put into bringing this key story to light.  Due to their efforts, I will now read the book that the movie is based on.  The limits to what one gets from a movie like this is everything one can get in an hour and a half.  The vision of Clooney as a director is minimal, but there are some pleasant touches, including a cameo with his dad towards the end of the movie.

If you are here for the actors, only Balaban and Murray have exceptional moments.  For the most part, everyone is willingly absorbed into the story, even if it does not add all anything to the proceedings.

The film is definitely worth the time of those who have a keen interest in humanities.  Some of our better versed artistic historians will enjoy this very much.  For the rest of us, yes, its worth a once through, on the way to the book store to pick up a copy, or just before prayers, so we know who to thank, besides God.

(*** out of *****)

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