Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate blanchett.
Monuments men is based on a true story. Im slightly sceptical as to how close to accurate war time events the film actually gets. The film begins with the premise that a team of soldiers have been assembled to scramble across second world war Europe attempting to prevent the destruction of European masterpiece works of art by the Nazis. We are expected to believe that this team of soldiers, the monuments men, toured all of Europe with gay abandon ignoring the gigantic conflict happening around them.
The film itself is sentimental and emotional from the outset. Clooney’s direction is tender, subtle and thought provoking in parts but equally clunky and clichéd in others. The underlying theme of the film is this “to destroy a peoples art is to wipe their existence from history”. Now I say underlying, but its not, its in your face and we are reminded of this at every possible opportunity. To the point where it becomes annoying.
Having made it sound like I didn’t like this film I will now explain why it is the best film I’ve watched so far this year. The dialogue though not outstanding is perfectly fitted around the characters. Bill murray, though underused, steals every scene he’s in. Cate Blanchett is engrossing as the bitter Nazi collaborator turned resistance agent, oozing both hatred for her Nazi employer and passion for her job. Matt Damon plays the enigmatic art historian with aplomb. The comic moments immediately following scenes of destruction seemed almost Tarantino-esque (with a small T, its not that well directed) minus the exceptional violence. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a must see, but its not too far from a very good film.