The wonderful middlebrow of Monuments Men

I have insisted for years that there is no such thing as a period film, inasmuch as any film, no matter when it’s set, will inevitably reflect the prejudices, assumptions and anxieties of the time when it was made. I might have discovered my first exception with Monuments Men, which made it to the screen without director Clooney striving to compare World War II or the U.S. Army with Afghanistan, Iraq, George W. Bush or Barack Obama. He manages this mostly by making a film so straightforward and conventional in style that it might as well have been released in 1956, and made by George Stevens, Henry Hathaway, or some other journeyman director.

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