Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Monuments Men - Good Film, Not Quite Serious Enough

The Monuments Men was an exciting and comical adventure which was only loosely based on the popular novel of the same name.  Written and directed by George Clooney, the film has an all-star cast including Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett.  The story begins with Frank Stokes (Clooney) convincing the Allied generals that saving Europe’s classic works of art is vital.  He believes that an Allied victory will be meaningless if the great works of the Renaissance masters are lost forever, either damaged, destroyed, or stolen.  Stokes is allowed to assemble a team of experts, historians, and artists to try and infiltrate enemy territory and recover the missing masterpieces.  Working with a Parisian curator named Claire Simone (Blanchett), James Granger (played by Matt Damon) attempts to get information about the missing pieces which are hastily being brought to Germany under the leadership of Nazi officer Viktor Stahl ahead of the advancing Allied armies.  The information is relayed to Stokes and the other members of his team who have split up and are scattered all across Europe attempting to retrieve priceless works such as Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child.  With no military support, the story is uplifting as this hodgepodge group of underdog’s singlehandedly save the history of Western art from the destruction of World War II.   However, I felt that the tone set by the director was very reminiscent of Ocean’s 11, another Clooney/Damon collaboration.  The seriousness of the story was overshadowed by the comedic elements which I feel took away from the gravity of what the team was trying to accomplish.  While comedic relief was necessary, it seemed to go a little far making the movie feel more like a art heist comedy when I was expecting a war drama.  Still, the movie was entertaining and enjoyable to watch, especially when you consider that the events depicted actually took place.  In the end it was an interesting and untold chapter in the history of the Second World War which makes viewing the great works on display at museums like the Louvre all the more special.   

No comments:

Post a Comment