Before THE MONUMENTS MEN came out last year, I was interested in seeing it just because it had such an amazing cast. But then the word after it came out was that it disappointed. So I figured I'd wait to see it on cable. Which is what I did a few nights ago.
And, I didn't find it disappointing at all. Like any film based on fact, there are a few implausible or unlikely moments enhanced (probably) by a screenwriter's (or director's or producer's) imagination, or need to embellish a basically less dramatic story than most movie plots.
But for my taste, that didn't matter much. My expectations were low, so I expected to watch a bit of it and then turn it off and go to bed. But, it drew me in, as any good movie needs to do to keep your attention, and mostly that was because of what attracted me to the idea of this flick in the first place...
...the fact that this really happened—that the Nazis were determined to steal much of the great art of Europe, or held in Europe at the time, and destroy the rest and that a handful of men managed to save most of it—and the marvelous cast. The movie's worth watching for Bill Murray's contribution alone.
He has become one of the most watchable movie stars in history, and his few scenes in this flick are some of his most understatedly moving and endearing ever. George Clooney is always watchable and usually engaging and this role is no exception. Bob Baliban does the best work he's ever done, in my opinion. And John Goodman manages to do his thing while not seeming to be in his own movie but rather a part of this top-of-their-game ensemble.
Everyone else is terrific as well, the one exception perhaps being Kate Blanchett as what I think the movie makers intended to be a nerdy yet coquettish French woman, but comes across as an actress in the wrong movie. Don't get me wrong, she has her moments of great acting, as always, but she is totally unconvincing, to me, as the French character she's trying to portray.
But as aide from the being miscast and a few anomalies for the time and circumstance, THE MONUMENTS MEN was totally worth watching for me, for the history lesson and for the rest of the acting.