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The Monuments Men(English) : Rating: * * * ½ A mammoth Art heist during the second world war that helped assuage the feelings of those affected by war. It’s basically history in a film-not exciting but nevertheless worthy!
English film review
Monumental Art heist but minus the thrill
Film: The Monuments Men
Cast: George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Jean Dujardin,John Goodman
Director: George Clooney
Rating: * * *
When America invaded Iraq, Art was the biggest casualty as millions of dollars worth of native and foreign art was sneaked away or destroyed while the US soldiers stood guard to the Oil Ministry. Obviously the US did not learn it’s lessons from the Second World War where the US army send in a special task force group, persuaded by Roosevelt and Prof Stokes, to keep Europe’s incredible history and culture from being taken out of their home countries. George Clooney’s film in fact is a record on that very event. Based on author Robert M.Edsel’s and Brett Witter’s non-fiction book ‘The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the greatest Treasure Hunt in history’ co-adapted with Grant Heslov, scripted and directed by Clooney, the film talks about the waning days of World War II, as the Nazis were realizing the death of their dreams, a squadron of US art historians were tracking down and saving countless paintings, sculptures and other priceless artifacts from falling prey to Hitler’s ‘Nero Strategy.’
To be sure, it's a fascinating story, one touched upon in a central way only once before in a major Hollywood movie, JohnFrankenheimer's sensationally good The Train, starring Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield, in 1964. But this adaptation is a bit too spare for comfort. What must have taken several groups to do, is shown as being orchestrated by a bunch of no-hopers.With little knowledge of modern weapons or warfare tactics, this ragtag group succeeded in their mission, albeit with a few casualties, and even managed to restore the artifacts to the rightful places in history.
The story is told in a laidback fashion with little thrill or excitement. The connectedness you experience is mainly because of the humongous task at hand. The film takes us through the basic training of the motley group and it doesn’t seem like they were up to the task of being fit to carry out their mission. In fact during the entire drama, the film prefers to be funny even at the most taxing times. The tone is never consistent or appropriatewhile the tenor does not generate any adrenaline rush. The thrill is also minimal.
Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, Production designer Jim Bissell and costume designer Louise Frogley make their skills felt. The CGI is also quite up to the task or making things look real. Alexander Desplat’s score plays on your sentiments quite cannily.
The all star cast makes things look authentic with Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett making the most of their precious few minutes on screen. But despite the lack of excitement, the film manages to retain a strong thread of credibility which allows us to be in awe of the entire exercise. This is history being taught by a boring teacher, even so you can’t really discount it!