“Monuments Men” review

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Monuments Men movie poster

Disclaimer: What follows are specific plot details and spoilers of “Monuments Men.”  The review contains spoilers regarding the movie.  Do not read this review if you have not watched the movie yet and you wish to in the future.

Taking the heartbreaking and devastating events during World War II and showing how the war impacted culture is a tough thing to do. But director, George Clooney, did it brilliantly in “Monuments Men.” Based on a true story, the film follows a group of artistic men through their struggle to find art stolen by Nazi Germany. The movie is an action drama and the all-star cast includes big names like George Clooney as George Stout, Matt Damon as James Rorimer, Bill Murray as Richard Campbell, and John Goodman as Walter Garfield.

The film begins with Clooney’s character, Stout, appealing to the president about his plan: to round up knowledgeable artists and collectors to locate and retrieve the art stolen by Nazi Germany. The men then go into solider training and then entering Europe to complete their task. Impressive and intricate, the setting is created with various army camps and cities presented just as they would have looked in the time period. But by far, the most amazing: part of the film was the actors. The dedication the actors had to their characters and the nuances of each of their personalities are what make this film memorable.

The funny and witty banter between the characters contrast the dark subject in just the right way, not too much that it was making fun of the topic but just enough to keep the film light. As tears are swelling in your eyes, you cannot help but chuckle at the dry and sarcastic script. The respect these men had for each other and how dedicated they were to each other and their mission is truly what makes this film iconic.

The film also stuck with the original story accurately. Keeping the actual men and not romanticizing the events, Clooney recreated these iconic moments in history effectively. Damon’s character, Rorimer, has to interact with a mysterious woman who knows about where some art has been hidden. Throughout their relationship, it is the lack of romantic ties that makes it so fantastic. James Rorimer was a married man and the fact that he did not get involved with the woman shows that Clooney did not need to add in a romance to make the movie better. By staying true to actual events, the film has more of an impact of viewers.

Although the movie has gotten some bad reviews, in my opinion, it was fantastic. But it is definitely for a target audience: people who know and appreciate art. It may be seen as boring to some who do not value art of the time period. The movie also has a run time of an hour and 50 minutes so it may be considered long to some viewers but personally, it ended with me wanting more. At the end of the film, Clooney’s character is viewing a piece of art with his grandson and although it was touching, I would have liked to see a follow-up on the other memorable characters. The humor in the film is also more of an acquired taste. Personally, it was hilarious because it was so sarcastic and snarky but it is definitely not for everyone.

“Monuments Men” is a film about the brave men who fought to save our culture. Their successes along with their failures are illustrated beautifully in this movie. If you are interested in art history or are in the mood for a touching action drama, watch this film and be transported directly into the mind of an artist in the midst of a World War.