Warning! This entire discussion contains spoilers for The Monuments Men.



Scott Hardie | August 2, 2014
I wasn't expecting much from this movie, given its lukewarm reviews, and it turned out like I expected. It's an ok drama about a good subject, but it's a long way from greatness. The characters barely register at all; the only one with any personality is a recovering drunk seeking redemption. Another one's personality is that he's French, I guess? I don't expect a complex character study, but if I'm supposed to care about these characters, I at least need to be able to tell them apart.

I was surprised by the frequent use of greenscreen. Some of the shots make sense, like the actors running away from explosions, but other shots are just the actors driving along a road on a sunny day and the shadows are all wrong, and it looks so weird and fake that it's distracting. You couldn't afford to have the actors drive on a road?

Someone could make a mashup of this movie and the Ocean's Eleven movies. George Clooney and Matt Damon have gone back in time to steal art back from the Nazis. That would be dumb, but it would be livelier than this.

This movie did accomplish one of its main goals, instilling an appreciation for the importance of art. I could understand how Clooney's character could stand transfixed by Madonna and Child even with the Russians closing in on him, because I had come to appreciate the works as these men saw them. Clooney has maybe three monologues in the movie about why art needs to be protected, and it's the implicit message of the film that all of this violence and death in the service of art preservation is worthwhile. I am persuaded.

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