monumentsmenThe Monuments Men is a little bit Ocean’s 11 and even a tad more National Treasure.

The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men is a little bit Ocean’s 11 and even a tad more National Treasure. Mix in an eclectic ensemble of actors with a very intriguing story line and you get a surprise hit. This time of year is normally a dumping ground for projects that never turned out the way the studio hoped. Granted this one does have a few stumbling blocks but nothing that would take away from the overall picture.

It is nearing the end of WWII and a group of unlikely soldiers form a platoon with the sole purpose of finding and returning all the valuable art pieces that Hitler stole. Facing opposition from untrusting curators and even their own government they strive to preserve history by saving these masterpieces.  They soon find that war stops for no one and they must try to survive.

The story is the most fascinating part of the movie; as should be with any film I suppose. We hear much about WWII and Hitler but in regards to his desire to claim all the nations’ valuables for his own collection. The thought of generations not being able to see the works of Picasso, Monet, or sculptures by Rodin is unthinkable. Yet that is what was bound to happen had these men not stepped in.

The cast is led by George Clooney and includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. These seasoned actors play well together and no egos seem to get in the way. They each bring a bit of sarcasm, humor, and wit to their respective roles. Seeing Bill Murray try to navigate a boot-camp obstacle course does bring forth flashbacks of STRIPES. Any minute you expect him to yell, “That’s the fact, Jack!”. Cate Blanchettis the one female in this male dominated film. She has a vital role as a French art curator and plays it perfectly.

The film at times seems forced and a bit convenient. The dialogue used to fill a scene my sound rehearsed or the humor contrived. Other than that it looks fantastic and the mixing in of art history makes it unique. The Monuments Men is rated PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking. Other than a few tense moments involving war injuries it is as safe a film to watch as any. I give it 3.75 out of 5 brush strokes. A surprising film that makes you think about the world of art and what was almost lost forever.

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