The Monuments Men

“Despite all of the cat distractions of the time, I chose to escape to the movies to clear my head, knowing I might not be fully in it. As it was, I was waiting for a call from the vet confirming that preliminary test results cleared Nosferatu for surgery, and I knew that call would pull me out of the movie for a minute. I sat by the exit. Now I’m a few days out from that. Cat is in recovery and the movie’s a bit of a blur.

The main criticism I’d heard about the film was that it was more talk than action (and I don’t mean I was expecting some Die Hard type action). So much effort around why the monuments men were doing what they were doing (which was rescuing and returning art stolen by the Nazis towards the end of WWII) and little actual rescue. And I agree up to a point. The film did take a while to get going (although admittedly, the timing of when I got more in to it did coincide a bit with the phone call). There was a lot of talk that didn’t go anywhere. Much of the film felt like George Clooney et al thought they were more clever than they actually were. Yet the story was interesting, the characters were engaging, and there were some emotional moments.

Clooney assembled a pretty rocking star cast: Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin (who I’m quite happy to see has put that Oscar win to use), Cate Blanchett. Their characters might have been a bit thin on paper, but the cast breathed life into them. Their interactions were fun to watch, and you cheered for these guys. Damon in particular made me laugh with his subtitled poor French, and the “”God love him for trying so damn hard”” persona that he’s often type cast with, or at least portrayed as such on Jimmy Kimmel.

While some of the story telling might have been flat, the story itself was one worth telling. These men were unsung heroes, and their passion was truly commendable. I’ve always found these smaller, more focused stories to be more compelling than sprawling tales of the war at large. I do feel like I’ve heard a wonderful piece of history, even if the story took a while to get its footing.

The Monuments Men – \m/ \m/ \n

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