Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Monuments Men Review - 3 Stars

George Clooney wants us to know that culture is important.  He delivers many speeches about culture in his new movie (which he also directs) “The Monuments Men.”   Based on the true story of the art historians recruited during World War Two and assigned to find and return art plundered by Hitler’s troops and shipped to Germany.  Clooney gathers a great group of actors including Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bill Murray and Hugh Bonneville — best known as Lord Grantham on “Downton Abbey” (great to see him in a different role.)   The story skips around Europe — France, Belgium, and Germany and touches on the real sacrifices the men make:  two of them die in battle.  Sometimes the film goes overboard, getting a little preachy and sentimental and even over explaining why we should appreciate these men and their assignment.  That heavy-handedness prevents “The Monuments Men” from greatness.   But the result remains good — a grand story of sacrifice and culture and the importance of art in our lives.    It makes me want to read the book of the same name and it makes me admire Clooney even more.  He wears his heart on his sleeve in “The Monuments Men” and it’s a good heart.  Does it deliver what it promises?  World War 2 story of unusual heroes.  Is it entertaining?  A little heavy-handed but easy to watch.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Better than the usual February movie.