Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Monuments Men: Artful Warriors

John Goodman, Matt Damon, Geroge Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray are        The Monuments Men.
 Here's a movie with a tough road to hoe. It's World War II, atrocities are rampant, human suffering is everywhere. But moviegoers are asked not to think about the concentration camps, bombed out cities and destroyed families, but instead to worry about great works of art.

Even for those who love nothing more than wandering through the Louvre or the MET, this is asking a lot. Still, it's not impossible if done right.

Sadly this movie missed several chances to convince us that money and manpower should be used to save art and not future artists.

The most squandered opportunity is near the beginning of the film when the monuments men, a group of art experts, find Michelangelo's sculpture of the Madonna and Child. Instead of the camera lingering lovingly over the exquisite masterpiece, it quickly pans to the face of one of the all-star cast members.

Big mistake. And it wasn't the only one of that ilk. Masterpiece after masterpiece gets a fleeting moment on camera, not enough time for us to fall in love with the work and insist that it be saved from Hitler's evil claws.

This is not to say that The Monuments Men is a failed movie. It just could be so much better.

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