The Monuments Men is a true story that takes place during WW2 and covers a very important era in history. However, I am sorry to report that this film is not what one would expect. It was a little confusing in the beginning, as I felt the director (George Clooney) assumed we knew military lingo and protocol proceedings. It was as if the characters were carrying on their very own private conversations during an ambiguous opening. The plan was to retrieve art stolen by the Nazis and return it to the rightful owners. The plan was hard for the audience and, surprisingly, the military to understand. I tried to follow along but soon became lost. Midway through, The Monuments Men started to come to life. I feel this was a noble gesture on the part of the US Military and was carried out to the best of their ability. The Nazi’s still managed to destroy millions of paintings rather than allow the owners to repossess them.
For some reason, George Cloony, who plays Frank Stokes, is hard to take seriously. He always seems to have a humorous persona. Bill Murray as Richard Campbell and Matt Damon as James Granger were brilliant as was John Goodman, who played Walter Garfield and Bob Balaban who played Preston Salvatz. Cate Blanchett played Claire Simone/Rose Valland, the real life curator of the Jeu De Paume museum in Paris, France. Rose documented all the paintings that came through the museum and their rightful owners. You can imagine how valuable this information became for this “special tasked platoon” known as The Monuments Men.
I don’t think this was a terrible movie but it wasn’t a good one. Aside from the confusing lead-in, I found The Monuments Men a bit lack luster and at times, a bit boring. George Clooney and Matt Damon seemed to dominate most scenes leaving Murray and Goodman overshadowed and under used. Overall, once you get past all the unsettleing beginnings, it finally gets much better. The Monuments Men is now on DVD and is worth an otherwise unfruitful evening.