Friday, February 07, 2014
‘The Monuments Men’ is the type of ‘Hollywood movie’ that they don’t make anymore--for good reason. The film depends strictly on the charms of the actors which are many, there are no surprises and you are usually a couple of steps ahead of the screenwriters George Clooney and Grant Heslov, which is based on a true story, and director George Clooney does bring one or two new shots to the screen Along with this the star George Clooney does one too many voiceovers. Would anyone be surprised to hear that George Clooney also produced this movie along with Grant Heslov?
In my opinion if anyone has starred, co-wrote, co-produced and directed a film I would say it was exhibitionism but this is George Clooney, a good actor when need be and has proven himself as an director and has produced winners previously.
The film is about a group of men who get together to recapture an unaccountable amount of art stolen by the Nazis during WW2 and then was threatened to be confiscated by the Russian army. The 8 men are, of course, a rag-tag team but each is brilliant in their own way. Frank Stokes (George Clooney) is a art historian who convinces President FDR to allocate money to get the stolen art and return it to the original owners. James Granger (Matt Damon) is the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art while Walter Garfield (John Goodman) is a sculptor. The other 5 men are French art dealer Jean Claude Clemont (Jean Dujardin), Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) an art expert, Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas) a German Jew who Stokes enlists to be their driver and translator along with Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban) and Richard Cambell (Bill Murray) as an architect. Along the way Granger connects--no, not that way! Not that she didn’t want to!--with Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett) who is a Parisian and was in a position to keep meticulous records of where all the art works were sent by Hitler, for a future Fuhrer museum, and Goering who took them for his own collection.
There are no spoilers because whatever happens you have seen before. Would it really surprise you that someone (won’t say who as that might be a spoiler until 15 minutes into the movie) finds the piece of art they are searching for? The only big surprise and possible SPOILER is that Granger turns down Simone when an advance is made. How do you turn down baby faced, dimpled, gosh, gee Matt Damon?!
The musical score by Alexandre Desplat would make any of the older Hollywood scorers proud with its pounding, ‘pay attention to what’s happening on screen’ score.
‘The Monuments Men’ is a movie for the fans of the actors, for those who remember how ‘they use to be made’ and for those who want to see what the old folks are talking about.