The Monuments Men is not a traditional World War II film. Based on a real-life treasure hunt, this action drama features an all-star cast led by George Clooney. As aging art expert Frank Stokes, he persuades President Roosevelt to include art recovery as part of the war effort.
Determined to rescue artistic masterpieces from the Nazis, Stokes recruits seven other art specialists played by Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban, Jean Dujardin, and Sam Epstein. Once in Europe, they split into teams and search for promising leads.
Switching back and forth between the teams made it difficult to keep track of the characters and, for most of the film, I simply thought of them as the “Bill Murray character” or the “Matt Damon character.” While there were several moving scenes, I felt there weren’t enough of them. I would like to have known more about Donald Jeffries’ (Hugh Bonneville) past and why Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin) was in exile. My favorite scenes were those with Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett, who plays an art curator and member of the French Resistance.
An extra hour of film time would have added more depth to the characters. Alternatively, the film could have been told from the perspective of the Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett characters, focusing on the budding romance (or not) between them.