World War II continues to hold a special place in the hearts of readers and movie goers. The reasons are many but much of it can be traced to the endless number of storylines from that conflict. There is literally a treasure trove of material that keeps emerging. The latest example is the movie, “The Monuments Men,” which we now have available as a book and a DVD at the library.
It’s common knowledge that the Germans stole thousands of valuable paintings from all over Europe to enrich and amuse themselves. What isn’t widely known is that the American army sent a special task force of art experts to find and rescue these masterpieces. This group of rag-tag “soldiers” was up against impossible odds to even survive such a mission. It makes for a fascinating narrative.
I have not read the book so I can’t really comment on it except to say I’ve gotten positive feedback from at least one patron. However, I did see the movie and found it to be very enlightening and entertaining. It’s one of those that critics enjoy taking a knife to but shouldn’t be a deterrent from watching.
It’s easy to see why critics love to bash the film. It has an all-star lineup but at first glance appears to be miscast. Who can look at Bill Murray without thinking of his screwball character in “Stripes?” And John Goodman still looks like Babe Ruth. And neither one looks like an art historian.
The same could be said of George Clooney and Matt Damon. They look more like dashing officers than artists. The key is that you combine them with other “miscast” actors and you definitely have a group that passes for ragtag. Toss in the elegance and believability of Cate Blanchett as a French resistance fighter and you have the makings of a good movie.