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THE MONUMENTS MEN
Joyce and Don Fowler

** * * ½ (Joyce)

* * * (Don)

(Based on true war story)

How come we never learned this stuff in school?

An interesting part of American history is played out in this World War II movie about a group of men who set out to rescue valuable art from Hitler’s grasp.

George Clooney directs and stars in the story that was based on actual events but comes across as taking a number of liberties in telling it.

Joyce was fascinated by the story and enjoyed the movie. I, too, was fascinated by facts of the story but felt that Clooney and the writers could have done a better job in telling it.

Clooney plays the guy who assembles the motley crew, which includes a museum director (Matt Damon), a sculptor (John Goodman), an architect (Bill Murray), a curator (Bill Balaban), a Frenchman (Jean Dujardin) and an Englishman (Hugh Bonneville). None of the characters are fleshed out enough as the movie jumps around from one location and situation to another as the crew tries to find out where the Germans are hiding the art treasures. Cate Blanchett plays a German secretary who is privy to much of the information, hates what is happening, but doesn’t trust the Yanks.

The movie raises the moral question as to whether endangering and sacrificing the lives of soldiers and civilians is worth saving the valuable art.

The Monuments Men find themselves up to their necks in situations they didn’t sign on for, eventually fighting for their lives while uncovering even worse deeds done by the Germans. It makes for an interesting story, but not a very gripping movie.

Rated PG-13 with some war scenes. More cigarettes were smoked in this film than are sold in Rhode Island in a year.


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