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A sleuthing mission that lacks drama

The Monuments Men is entertaining in parts but it's not entirely convincing, says GEOFFREY EU

Published Thu, Feb 20, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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WHEN the future of Western civilisation is at stake, only the best will do. That's why George Clooney, armed with a compelling World War Two tale about looted art by the Nazis and the art experts tasked with tracking it down, recruited a team of Hollywood A-listers to make The Monuments Men. When George Clooney talks, studio bosses listen.

The film, directed by Clooney and based on a non-fiction book by Robert M Edsel titled The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, tells the little-known story of a unit of dedicated art professionals who worked to recover, protect and return the art to its rightful owners.

Considering the Nazis spirited away an estimated five million items of plundered art during their occupation of Western Europe, the job was a monumental recovery mission. Under direct orders from the German High Command, priceless artworks from churches, cultural institutions and private homes had been removed and stashed away in various locations - the Fuhrer apparently had big plans to build an eponymous museum complex to display works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Michelangelo, among many others. When the tide of war turns against him, Hitler issues a directive to destroy all the art.

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