The film begins with Clooney’s character advising the government of the magnitude of the Germans’ theft of historic artwork. He is then tasked with the assignment of bringing together a “platoon” of art experts that would be willing to put their lives at risk in order to recover the stolen gems. The rest of the film is about their efforts.
Blanchett’s role is crucial as she knows where much of the artwork is hidden. It is left to Damon’s character to convince her that his outfit is there to help. She is reluctant because as part of the resistance she doesn’t know who to trust.
“The Monuments Men” is far from perfect. For one thing it lacks sufficient character development. Perhaps the director should have added scenes dealing with boot camp a la “Stripes.” It would have been hilarious since the principles weren’t soldiers (the film has a comic undertone to it for that reason) and allowed us to develop a bond with them. The film is less than eighty minutes so lengthening it shouldn’t have been a deterrent.
That’s just quibbling though. “The Monuments Men” succeeds because it is both charming and an important piece of history. Fans of the actors will certainly like it and the rest of us will learn something new. That’s enough to make it a worthwhile investment.
David Kent is the director of the Village Library of Cooperstown. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that all book and movie reviews are for titles that the Village Library has available to borrow.