DIG Box Office: "The Monuments Men"

BY: DEBBY VASQUEZ

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Some might believe that war films is a tired genre, or that stories revolving around World War II has been told too many times. "The Monuments Men" would beg to differ, with its all-star cast including Bill Murray, John Goodman, Matt Damon, and Cate Blanchett.

Directed, produced, and co-written by George Clooney, "The Monuments Men" tells the true story of a group of curators, architects, and art historians whose sole task is to preserve and protect European art from being stolen or destroyed by the Nazis. It is even a bit reminiscent of "Ocean’s Eleven."

Clooney plays Lieutenant Frank Stokes, who along with six art specialists, spread out throughout Europe looking for a 12 panel altarpiece from a church in Belgium, a Michelangelo sculpture and many other works. Damon plays Lieutenant James Granger who seeks information from Claire Simone (played by Blanchett), who may know where certain works of art may be hidden. Simone does not comply due to suspicion and fear that the Americans may take the art and not return it.

The search for the works of art becomes more intense when Hitler signs a decree that states that if he should be killed or his “empire” falls, his soldiers are to destroy every piece of art they captured.

Throughout the film, we see how the war affects these men from Murray’s character missing his family, John Goodman and “The Artist” star, Jean Dujardin, encountering snipers, and the group finding a secret that changes history.

Despite having some cliché moments, this film still tugs at the heartstrings as we see these men become friends while also willing to risk their lives to save art. Even if you know nothing about art, you will still root for these guys to find those masterpieces.

With its prestigious cast, all the actors put in their best, but at times, it feels like they are being more themselves than their characters.

It would have been more interesting to get a little more back story on the characters but Clooney tries to focus the movie solely on the art and its importance to society.

All in all, "The Monuments Men" is a sweet film that respects those that risked their lives in that war, while also emphasizing art and its function to provide influence and inspiration.