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Action - The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men
George Clooney, John Goodman, Bill Murray
Directed by George Clooney
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2014

George Clooney's The Monuments Men is one of the least violent war movies I have seen. There are only two incidents where someone gets shot: one is done off camera and the other is rather incidental. The movie tells an interesting story and features great actors like John Goodman, Matt Damon, Clooney, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), and a rather unrecognizable Cate Blanchett.

The thing is that though it is set during WWII and based on true events, The Monuments Men is more an entertaining boys' adventure story than anything else.

Set near the end of WWII, the movie tells the story of various civilian (ergo not really soldier material) art experts who get enrolled by another named Frank Stokes to go around Europe freeing various works of art stolen by the Nazis who are now under orders to destroy them all. That is exactly what they do.

A couple of these experts have some backstory: one has a weak heart or something and the other is a drunk. The rest of the characters are more types than anything else. The most interesting character is Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett) the curator of one of Paris' great museums who was forced to work for the Nazis and is now imprisonned as a collaborator although she was not. Simone is also most complete and least sterotypical character in this movie.

The Monuments Men is, as many others have said, very episodic. The guys set out to free a particular cache of art, get to the location, and stuff happens. Repeat. It did not particularly bother me though as this is how boys' adventure stories are created.

What I found disappointing is the lack of interesting special features on the DVD. There are two shorts about the movie itself. I would have liked something about the real Monuments Men.

Richard Lanoie

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