The Monuments Men FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Smokehouse Productions present a 118 minute, PG-13, based on a true story, action, drama, biography, directed by George Clooney, written by Clooney and Grant Heslov with a theater release date of February 7, 2014.
Throughout Belgium, France, Italy and other parts of the world during the year of 1943 valuable pieces of art have been disappearing, robbed by the Germans with the intent to one day fill the Fuhrer’s Museum. In June of 1944 the USA has gathered a select group of “Monument Men” to enter into Nazi Germany behind enemy lines and seek out the stolen art before it’s too late to return it to its rightful owners. Led by Frank Stokes (George Clooney) with several other knowledgeable art experts, James Granger (Matt Damon), Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), Walter Garfield (John Goodman), Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin), Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville), Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban) with the help of Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas) these men are on a mission to retrieve the art before Hitler destroys it or the Russians find it first. If the Russians do find it they will not return it to its true owners but like Hitler rather keep it for themselves.
Thankfully Granger seeks out the help of Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett) she knows the whereabouts of some of the art that Viktor Stahl (Justus von Dohnanyi) has stolen and hidden away until the end of the war. Sadly out of the group of American men that were trying to retrieve the stolen masterpieces so that people can admire and cherish these works of art in the future two have lost their lives trying to protect the art. Once they found out where the Nazi’s were hiding the art it was a race against time to retrieve it before it was too late. When the war ended and the Germans surrendered whatever art was not found the Nazi’s tried to destroy. Five million pieces of art where retrieved but many pieces were lost forever taking away the history and legacy of its creator.
I must say I enjoyed the film for the sake of its history lesson but it seemed to just coast through the 118 minutes on the big screen with more valleys than peaks. Clooney once again does a nice job of directing but misses the mark on the writing making the story seem too much like a biographical film rather than one to be enjoyed at the theater. I mean don’t get me wrong it surely has its moments but some of the lines fall flat even though spoken from the lips of some of my favorite vintage actors like Goodman and Balaban. Damon seemed a bit lost and lack lustered in his role and Clooney was almost not as believable as he is in so many of his other roles but Blanchett and Dujarin were superb along with Bonneville. Overall some great cinematography, score and lessons about the history of our beloved art collections around the world that may not have had a chance to be admired by future generations if not for “The Monument Men” in the 1940’s. Albeit not my first choice to suggest for a weekend movie but definitely worthy of a DVD rental in the near future for its cast and content. Written and enjoyed for the history of this film with 2 paws out of four by Jon Patch.