A monumental movie

World War Two is somewhat of a worn out topic if you ask any movie-goer or video-game junky.  That being said, The Monuments Men delivered in a big way as the film was not a classic war flick. Director George Clooney (three Golden Globe Awards for acting and two Academy Awards—one for acting and one for producing) offers a different look at the war and the 1940’s as the film portrays a group of men and women (The Monuments Men) looking to prevent the Nazis from looting cultural objects from occupied Europe or putting an end to famous pieces of art.

Clooney, who also starred in the film he directed, produced, and wrote the screenplay for, portrays Lt. Frank Stokes (based on George L. Stout). He is the man that persuaded President Roosevelt that the victory would have significantly less meaning if the great art of Western civilization was lost either in combat or as collateral damage.

Lt. Stokes puts together his crew consisting of: Lt. James Granger based on James Rorimer (Matt Damon), Sgt. Richard Campbell based on Robert K. Posey (Bill Murray), Sgt. Walter Garfield based on Walter Hancock (John Goodman), Lt. Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin), and Claire Simone based on Rose Valland (Cate Blanchett) among others.

The unit struggles throughout the film with their work as their own side’s combat units will not risk more of their soldiers’ lives for the sake of preserving art. Lt. Granger (Damon) constantly tries to get information from Claire Simone (Blanchett), a French art historian, and finds doing so difficult. She restrains from Granger, unwilling to cooperate in case he is an art looter. Granger and Simone’s relationship blossoms into an interesting side-story keeping the audience wondering if Granger will stay faithful to his wife back home. The team also struggles to retain a statue of the Madonna and Child by Michelangelo. This piece of art becomes more significant to Lt. Stokes as one of his men Lt. Donald Jeffries based on Ronald E. Balfour dies trying to preserve it.

Overall Clooney’s dry and witty sense of humor came across well in the film. As the film went on, its identity almost questioned itself. The Monuments Men was portrayed in the previews as nothing but an edge-of-the-seat thriller. This was not the only sense I felt as there was a sizable amount of humor throughout the film. Considering the fact that the film deals with death and major pieces of art being set to flames, the movie-going experience was quite enjoyable from a humor stand point.

Beware average movie-goers, this is not a film to just waltz into randomly hoping to enjoy a few hours of your day. This film chronicles major historical events that have yet to be shown in such a manner.

The Internet Movie Database rated this film a 6.5 out of 10. My personal rating for this film would be a B plus. Maybe I give it too good of a grade, but I am a sucker for Clooney films. The combination of humor and suspense worked for me. As long as you know what you are getting into regarding what kind of movie you are watching, I would definitely recommend seeing The Monuments Men.