Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Monuments Men (movie review)

Glenn is a war vet, served in the Navy having attended DLI (Defense Language Institute) to learn Vietnamese. He ended up as a code cracker with NSA.  You'd think a guy like that might have generous military benefits but of course that's not true.  He was recuperating from a tooth extraction today, low budget, out of pocket.  The VA doesn't pay for anything.

I bring up Glenn's war vet experience because this movie is about older vets getting into World War Two (chapter two of the Great War) in order to save the great art pieces of Europe.  Hitler had this agenda of raiding all the treasures and amassing them in some Fuhrer Museum.  After the allied powers invaded through Normandy, Italy, Eastern Europe, it was a matter of preserving what could be saved.

George Clooney produced, directed and starred in this all star cast movie.  I could see using this in an art history class to introduce some of the great masters.  We need timelines for that too.  Leonardo and Da Vinci were contemporaries, one could say rivals.  What they said about each other was not always complementary.

Clooney portrays the Russians as just in it for the trophies, not as good guys like the Americans turned out to be.  The French curator ends up trusting Matt Damon, a good guy.  But then he very selfishly refuses her romantic advances, not cool, but that's OK, we weren't expecting much.

Actually, Russia helped return art to rightful owners too.  For example, an obelisk the Mussolini forces stole from Ethiopia was returned via Russian cargo jet (!) after the war.  I learned all about that at the Lucy exhibit in Seattle.  Ethiopia is still thankful.