Monuments Men is fun, clever look into a particular assignment of troops during World II. The war is deadly serious but the film injects humor and humanity into a time period that is known for its lack of thereof.
Monuments Men follow a small troop of art scholars and crafts men as they try to keep priceless cultural items from being destroyed during the war. Their biggest assignment, though, is to rescue to the art that Hitler has been stealing for his own museum. While the story seems outlandish, it’s a true tale. Hundreds of men and woman in a variety of countries participated in securing and returning thousands of pieces to their rightful homes. The film follows a group of seven men as they struggle to find paintings, sculptures, and other great works of art.
Based on the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Edsel, George Clooney stars and directs this comedy-drama. Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Matt Damon are the core group of Monuments Men that the movie follows as they investigate the stolen artwork from all across Europe. But they have more to worry about that the Germans. The Russian troops are taking any artwork they find during their campaign as reparations for the war. So the troops have little time to save some of the most precious artwork, especially after they find out that Hitler will destroy the art work instead of letting it fall into Allied hands.
The movie has not received many good reviews from critics because this isn’t your standard warfare movie. This isn’t on the front lines, in your face, killing and shooting. This movie is about a more subdued set of troops whose goals were not to be in the war, but to protect the culture that was being destroyed. Its content led to the humor ingrained in the movie. And the humor was taken very seriously. The movie’s release date was pushed back to make sure the comedy didn’t over power the drama, just added to the story line. I say they succeeded helping break the tensions with jokes. In fact, though their death and sadness, it is the least depressing war movie I have ever watched. The story is fun, but deep always considering the worth of human life as well as that of a civilization’s culture.
It sad that is the movie has had such a poor reception. In the end it has the same goal as Lone Survivor; these men will live on because of their story. Their sacrifices will be remembered. A lesser known aspect of the war, the movie really brings to light that normal citizens cared enough about the cultural of the world to become make-shift soldiers and enter that war zone.
Serious when it needs to be, and fun when it doesn’t have to, Monuments Men is a war tale with a happy ending.