George Clooney is quite selective when it comes to what movies he will direct, and even more discriminating when it comes to movies he directs and stars in.
The Monuments Men served his needs as Clooney stars as the leader of the real life troupe that went into war zones trying to secure priceless pieces of art and culture from the Nazis who stole them. He also directs, and the film has the feel and tone of classic Clooney, but it still stretches his artistry as a filmmaker.
The Monuments Men is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download and features an all-star cast as the group who did their best, often giving their lives, to secure our culture for future generations.
Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett comprise the cast. But, in our minds, the true focus of the film is the uncanny realization that the Nazis tried to confiscate, keep and destroy all of what makes us human.
Clooney lays out his story as a classic World War II adventure movie, complete with a patriotic score to boot. As we stated in our theatrical The Monuments Men review, we’re not sure that works for this story, but we found the film as a whole quite powerful and evenly directed by the man who also stars.
The bonus features for The Monuments Men home video are fascinating and, in many ways, even more fascinating than the movie itself.
George Clooney’s Mission illustrates how the superstar works as a director. We, the viewer, get a bird's-eye view that his experience as an actor is what fuels his directing mission. He understands his cast and is intensely aware of what kind of direction each needs, and often if is overtly different from performer to performer.
The featurette also provides priceless insight into why it was The Monuments Men that had Clooney keen on directing. Turns out, it has everything to do with his charity work and how he has seen firsthand that oppressors stealing the art and culture of a society (in Africa) can depress a people to the point where they have little to live for.
Given the all-star cast, the featurette Marshaling the Cast is compelling as well. And each of his superstars tells what it was about the story that had them sign on, as well as what they found in Clooney the director that made the experience so enjoyable.
The usual deleted scenes are interesting, if for no other reason than to get inside the head of director Clooney and the choices he made.
But, in the end, two featurettes stand out above all the rest: The Real Monuments Men and A Woman Amongst the Monuments Men look at the real people behind the riveting story and shed a light on their sacrifice and efforts that have largely not been known about, until now.
In the end, people need to see The Monuments Men because it is an important part of history that we should never forget. We think Clooney's character says it best in the film when he says:
"You can wipe out an entire generation, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they'll still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, you destroy their achievements and it's as if they never existed. That's what Hitler wants and that's exactly what we are fighting for."
Watch The Monuments Men online and witness Clooney's magic right now!