Wars are breeding grounds for great stories - tales of heroics and extraordinary acts beyond comprehension. But as we know, heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and with different motivations. In times of war, while hundreds of thousands of men were laying down their lives for their country and its citizens, seven men walked to be the beat of their own drum, risking their lives for the people and their culture.
Writer, director, producer, actor and all around good (and good-looking) guy George Clooney has brought to life 'The Monuments Men' is his latest film, once again both in front of and behind the camera. In the midst of World War II, word spreads that Hitler, an artist himself, is stealing and hoarding art from across Europe for his own personal Führer Museum. Frank Stokes (Clooney) assembles a group of art scholars, architects and curators to travel to the front lines of war to find and take back the missing pieces, and save a civilisation in the process. Splitting up and scouring the continent, these men fight foreign enemies, domestic prejudice and personal demons to do what they believe is right and just, not just for the victims but for future generations as well.
An extraordinary story told by a talented storyteller with the help of an extraordinarily charismatic and comedically talented cast, this one just falls a little flat cinematically. Erring on the side of perfunctory, the sentimental angle plays cold, with inspirational words spoken with no heart behind them. It’s obvious Clooney understands the weight and importance of the story he’s telling, which is perhaps too big a burden, resulting in a tonally confused final product. Clooney has assembled his friends to fill his cast in the hopes they can provide on screen what he and co-writer Grant Heslov lack on paper.
Sadly unable to make the impact and impression it deserves, it’s still not a total disappointment, and a good story and unique sidebar to make note of against all the horrors that befoul that time in our history.