The Monuments Men (2014)   3/53/53/53/53/5


John Goodman and George Clooney in The Monuments Men (2014)

Stokes' Seven

With the war ebbing its way towards an end news surfaces that Hitler has ordered the destruction of all the pieces of art and treasure they have stolen and hidden away. Frank Stokes (George Clooney), under instruction from FDR, assembles a team of art experts and museum curators to head to Europe as an unlikely platoon to recover and return the stolen masterpieces before it is too late. But as these men, known as The Monuments Men, race against time to find and save these treasures some will have to face the biggest choices of their lives when it comes to fighting for what they are passionate about.

I wonder if when George Clooney found himself making "The Monuments Men" he found himself in a dilemma as to whether to take the storyline in a certain familiar way. What I mean by that is that "The Monuments Men" almost has that classic war time adventure movie set up of a group of untrained men hand picked to go on a mission. It made me think of such movies as "The Dirty Dozen" and "Kelly's Heroes" as well as "Ocean's 11" even though that isn't a war movie. I am sure the temptation must have been there to do something similar and I wonder if that sort of adventure escapade would have been more entertaining.

Bill Murray in The Monuments Men (2014)

Now that may sound like I didn't enjoy "The Monuments Men" when truth is I enjoyed it a lot but after it had finished I felt like having watched it once I would never need to watch it again which always disappoints me. Despite this George Clooney certainly brings plenty of entertainment to the movie with a cast and script which naturally lends itself to plenty of one on one humour as well as some emotion. The double act of Bill Murray and Bob Balaban showcases this wonderfully with plenty of humour between the two of them as two of the experts but also delivers one of the movie's most touching scenes involving a record received from home.

In truth a lot of the success of "The Monuments Men" comes from the stellar casting with everyone of the central actors bringing their characters to life. As such you get some unsurprising comedy from John Goodman but as Walter Garfield he gets some dramatic scenes and he does just as nice job of bringing the emotion of these scenes to life without going over board. The same with Jean Dujardin and Hugh Bonneville, whilst Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett bring a different sort of dynamic to the movie.

What this all boils down to is that "The Monuments Men" certainly is an entertaining movie which whilst not over the top on action has a nice mix of humour and drama. But it is the sort of movie that after watching it once you probably won't feel much need to watch again.


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