'The Monuments Men': Why art matters and what it is worth
Based on a true story, The Monuments Men takes on the subject of war from a very different perspective than Lone Survivor.
During World War II, eight men are tasked with saving art from the destruction that the war has caused. The object is to find stolen art and return it to its owners – there is also something about protecting architecture, but that gets thrown out with the first statement of a commanding officer on the ground.
The question that the film asks, and answers in part, is “Why is it worth a man’s life to save this art?”
The Monuments Men hits all of the right emotional notes. It is possible that the contrast of the beauty of art serves to heighten the sense of horror in war though those horrors are treated only secondarily as the film focuses on the men who were not necessarily on the frontline.
This is a cute little film that misses all of the pageantry, glory and gore of a Schindler’s List or a Saving Private Ryan or even an Inglourious Basterds. That is where its strengths are. The quiet allows the unsaid to shout deafeningly at the audience. It is the innuendo and suggestion that makes this film a good commentary on the war, life and what they mean.
You may find yourself asking, “What kind of film is this? A war film? A Buddy Film? An Ensemble?” It doesn’t matter because it is a good film, and it tells one of those stories that is more important to the survival of who we are than could ever know. If these men would not have been there saving art, we may still live, but our lives would be less for the loss.
We can only hope that we never have to call on this type of man ever again, but if we do, then we can only hope that our leaders will have the foresight to call on them, that they will exist and that they will heed the call.
The Monuments Men stars George Clooney, John Goodman, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and Bill Murray.
See Romney's Review of Monuments Men