The Monuments Men is an impressive movie because of its story, its cast and its music. George Clooney directed and stars in this true story of a group of art dealers, curators and restorers who joined the Army and worked to save priceless art treasures from being looted by the Nazis. He is joined by Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban. To add to the emotion and appeal of the film Alexandre Desplat has composed an impressive musical score.
Frank Stokes (Clooney) is the man who gets the group organized. It isn't a little thing he asks of his friends and fellow art lovers. These middle aged men were required to join the army and go through basic training. Then they were sent into areas where their lives could be in danger. Still this group believed whole-heartedly in their cause and were willing to make whatever sacrifices that were necessary.
Clooney's role does not require a large amount of acting talent from him. He just has to look his Clark Gable best and speak his words with humility and dedication. Damon has the role of another charmer. His character James Granger must try to get as much information out of Parisian museum employee Claire Simone (Blanchett) as possible. The fact he gets her to fall for him is an added bonus.
Murray and Balaban are a perfect Mutt and Jeff combination. They play Richard Campbell and Preston Savitz. These two provide much of the comic relief as well as an emotional centerpiece in the film using music. Goodman is Walter Garfield, a man unaccustomed to the rigors of war but one who rises to the occasion. Jean Dujardin, who was so impressive in The Artist, plays a man thankful for the chance to fight the Germans even in this odd way. Bonneville of Downton Abbey fame is exceptionally likeable as a man trying to make up for his past sins.
Cate Blanchett once again shows why many consider her to be the equal of Meryl Streep in the acting department. She submerges herself into the role of Simone and shows a variety of facets of her personality.
The film is rated PG-13 for violence and profanity.
There is a likeability to all of the characters in the movie and their goals are part of a patriotic fervor that embraces the film. Desplat's jaunty theme is somewhat akin to the sound of the march music from "The Bridge Over the River Kwai."
Clooney and company have created an enjoyable film that plays on patriotism, wartime drama and humor to entertain audiences. They struck the right notes and did the true story proud.
I scored The Monuments Men an artistic seven out of 10.
--- Jackie K. Cooper.