Film Review: 'Monuments Men':

Patricia Dowdy By Patricia Dowdy, 14th Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Theatre

Every now and then, our history reminds us that life is an art that must be preserved without fear of monsters.'The Monuments Men' film shouts this reminder with clarity.

The Back Story

In Columbia Pictures' "The Monument Men", George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman and a well tuned ensemble of other focused actors portray soldiers of a different kind.
Impassioned by a burdensome mission during the second World War, seven soulful gladiators meet in battle torn Europe to undo a heinous wrong.Their only possible contact behind enemy lines will be a strong Resistance woman who is brought to life by Cate Blanchett. The time is a fearful one.
Germany's Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler has occupied most of the continent. Once thriving cities no longer produce. The rural landscape everywhere is barren or completely. obliterated. Almost daily intelligence reports warn Hitler that the now infamous Battle of the Budge (against The Allies) looms. Yet without so much as a moment's intervention of conscience, he proceeds in his narcissistic exploits.
Families and entire communities are herded onto trains destined for Auschwitz, Poland. There, to the soft sounds of classical music, they will be ushered into crowded gas chambered spaces and then left to die. Any valuables they may have had, Fuhrer Hitler will claim as his personal spoils.
He has ordered his Gestapo soldiers to confiscate scores of left-behind works of art by master painters and sculptors from across the ages. He authorizes the storage of these great works in unventilated caves and other well hidden places. As a final testimony to his victims' unworthiness, he decrees that should he be killed, the great masterpieces are to be destroyed.

"All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."--Edmund Burke

And so, the seven good men and one good woman characterized in 'Monuments Men' accept an offer they cannot refuse. Each can live in the comfort and privacy of their separate little worlds, or they can collectively make a difference. From the very beginning, the film's plot evokes all kinds of reflections.
How expansive does Hitler's holocaust have to become? As always, will there be waiting in the distance, a second-in-command who will take this mad man's place?
And finally, if the fuhrer's bullying threats to Jews or to the history of art are not immediately redressed--who or what will be the next target?
Overcoming unspoken fears, the real people upon whom 'Monuments Men' is based appear to have had no choice but to stand up for what was right, perhaps knees knocking as they did so..
There is a scene when Christmas and Chanukah gifts arrive that causes cinema viewers to clearly see that the real people 'Monuments Men' portrays, led ordinary lives. This mission announced to these Human Rights Gladiators that the time for each of them to suit up had arrived. Suddenly, their day-to-day routines would no longer an option.

"Seek and you shall find."--Jeshua

The plot is fraught with danger alerts everywhere. The camera shots, the dialogue, and the going back and forth frustration of the gladiators as they try without much success to located the stolen art. Layer by layer, the suspense builds strong viewer emotions.
Scenes where German soldiers appear raise questions as to whether our 'Monument Men' will be discovered at any given moment--and then brutally done away with in the next. Strategically placed, such scenes heighten audience identification even more so..
These gladiators become familiar--fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, the boy next door. So we fear for them. In one such danger-filled scene a turn-around for hope at last seems likely.

All we have to fear is fear itself." Franklin D, Roosevelt

To further discuss 'Monument Men' would be to spoil its well crafted important story.
The take-away for me was the awareness that if our world is to improve at all, we must take back the power that we have given to our fears.
"Monuments Men" encourages us not turn our head when another suffers.
Bullies like Hitler are often little more than "mushroom people". Mushroom people, like their vegetable cousin, derive life from the decaying of the next victim they choose to displace.
'Monument Men' is a powerful 5-star film that motivates us to recognize wrong, and then without fear, to seek to displace that wrong instead.
After all, what sort of world do we want?


Art History, George Clooney, Human Rights, Monuments Men, World War Ii

Meet the author

author avatar Patricia Dowdy
My current affairs writings have appeared on the web pages of Gather, Stumbled Upon and my own blog--Visions and Insights..

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
22nd Feb 2014 (#)

Thought provoking review, thanks Patricia. I like the meaningful conclusion that you have drawn - siva

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author avatar Patricia Dowdy
22nd Feb 2014 (#)

Slvaramakrisnan, thanks.
Hitler was an enemy to all world citizens. This film brings our attention to our "solution responsibilities" should such a person begin to rise to the forefront again.

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