Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Bonneville, John Goodman
Have you ever had that feeling that something is terribly wrong, but you cannot put your finger on it? You analyze it, try to find the reason, and end up like a marble statue of indecision. That’s how I felt with The Monuments Men.
As far as the storyline, I had no idea that Hitler amassed such a monumental collection of the world’s masterpieces while conquering Europe. When I initially saw the trailer for the movie, I thought it would be an interesting flick of war intrigue. To my horror, about half way through I kept fiddling with the stop button on my TV wanting to escape my $3.99 movie rental on Amazon.
I cannot put my finger on any one thing as to why this movie doesn’t work. Since George Clooney and Matt Damon star in the film, maybe I was hoping for a WWII version of Oceans 11 where the gang steals back valuable artwork from the bad guys. There are great actors, but mediocre performances. Even George Clooney was a dud, like the landmine that barely sparks in one scene.
The film lacks conflict and intrigue. Perhaps it’s the script that is dull or poor direction. It jumps from scene to scene.The only thing that did ruffle my feathers were the Germans stealing, stashing, and destroying the masterpieces from great artists. As the war is ending, the team of men who are lovers of art, take on the task of finding, salvaging, and returning the stolen treasures.
Of course, there are undertones of much more being destroyed than art. There is the terrible confiscation of Jewish property, even down to barrels full of gold fillings taken from the mouths of victims. It is a sobering reminder that more than art had been lost during the war, and perhaps we should care about human lives rather than a Rembrandt.
Nevertheless, it is true that our greatest achievements as human beings should be preserved. Hitler wanted to conquer more than land and human lives, he wanted to conquer and own all of the art created by master artists of centuries past. Two men gave up their lives to preserve and reclaim the artwork. The only question left for the audience to ponder is whether the price of a human life is worth the preservation of a masterpiece.