‘The Monuments Men’ ceases to maintain interest, thrill


Official movie poster, used with permission.

I love war-era movies, and I was excited to see “The Monuments Men.” Ever since the trailer enticed me, I kept a look out for this movie to be in theaters and as soon as I sat down on that seat I was looking forward to what will unfold to me onscreen.

I found myself to be utterly and hopelessly bored.

I didn’t find flaws in the scenery, cinematography, or casting as much as I found the dialogue flawed. There was a lot of unnecessary exchange of small talk between the characters that I didn’t feel was necessary to the plot at all. I had a hard time following what the characters were talking about unless it pertained to the main goal of retrieving stolen pieces of artwork.

Speaking of which, the film is about an allied group called the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program tasked with rescuing pieces of art and other culturally-significant artifacts before their destruction by Hitler. It is directed by George Clooney and based off the non-fiction book “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” by Robert M. Edsel.

Clooney’s performance (he was Frank Stokes) was great because after all, he is the George Clooney. I don’t exactly have anything I can compare it to because I never saw Clooney in another war movie, but I wouldn’t say he was a Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, anyone?)

The character I resonated with the most, however, was Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett), a French curator who has no choice but to allow Nazi officers to steal artwork from her gallery for Hitler’s proposed Fuhrer museum. Her sheer hatred for the Nazis was kept surreptitious as best as she could; there was even a humorous moment when one of the Nazis asked her for a wine glass and she spit in it. Her wavering strength in light of learning of her brother’s murder in trying to rescue paintings almost brought tears to my eyes, as she held back tears when listening to the ultimatum the Nazi Viktor Stahl gave her.

Blanchett’s performance was absolutely astounding, as her facial expressions and even the way she carried herself as her character was believable in every way, and one can’t help but feel empathy for Claire through Blanchett’s portrayal.

Despite the movie being very boring, it had an excellent historical takeaway at the end. I learned about the significance of human creativity throughout history, and how important it is to make sure that such creativity is preserved in the right hands for future generations to admire and learn from. I recommend it for viewing if you have the patience to see beyond the petty dialogue.

“The Monuments Men” is rated PG-13 and runs for 118 minutes.