Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Monuments Men - Review

In the last years of WWII, a specially selected group of art experts and historians, led by George Clooney, brave into the battlelines of the Western Campaign in order to identify and retrieve any works of art stolen by the Nazis for Hitler's proposed dream museum. Their mission becomes more dire when bodies begin to drop and the Nazis are ordered to destroy any property currently in their possession. Though based on an incredible true story, actor-director Clooney and his screenwriters treat the material like a 4th grade football team, constantly fumbling up the current plotlines before throwing in brand new ones that hinder the focus of the game. For example, the film's MacGuffin is established right in the prologue to be the "Ghent Altarpiece" and is shown to be something people are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to protect it from greedy hands. Once Act Two starts, the "Ghent" is placed on the back-burner because the new MacGuffin is now Michelangelo's "Mother and Child", since one of the many non-fleshed-out characters littered into the script became a bullet-ridden corpse. The same thing happens with the antagonists, switching from the retreating, art-destroying Nazis to the advancing, art-pillaging Russians. Despite these great faults, the movie is pleasant and harmless enough to spend an afternoon watching, preferably when it premieres on basic cable next year. It actively wants to recapture the mood and style of a late 40's war picture, the kind that packed matinees and usually featured a big draw like John Wayne. THE MONUMENTS MEN may be an easy sit but a better vision and a tighter script would have easily proven why art is an important part of human existence.


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