The Monuments Men is a fabulous story brought to life on screen with an okay movie. Basically near the end of World War II, a motley collection of American art specialists were given the task of finding and saving tens of thousands of art pieces. These were priceless items the Nazis had stolen from Jewish families, museums, churches, etc throughout France, Belgium, and Italy. Thanks to a lucky break, this group of men made a connection with a woman (played by Cate Blanchett) who worked for the Nazis (not happily) and kept meticulous records of the art work acquired. All in all, the Monuments Men’s goal was to save and preserve history and a part of humanity. Sadly it took the loss of some lives to do it, and yet the men sacrificed themselves for the sake of art.
So, that is an incredible and inspiring story. The film is a Hollywood version that glosses over the difficulties. We get a smattering of war and danger, but it’s more about the chase. The movie itself has an all-star cast – George Clooney, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and more. It’s fun and glib, with snappy dialogue, jokes about Damon’s character and his horrible French, and the group putting together pieces of the puzzle to find the art. They do discover that the Nazis hid huge amounts in salt mines. They seek the famous Ghent altarpiece and basically rush to save it before the Russians hit the town at the end of the war.