The Monuments Men:The priorities in wars

War movies, for me, are like history teachers. With a mix of morality lessons, I think every historical movie is worth the watch.the-monuments-men-5388253c282a0

The Monuments Men may not be like any other war movies this decade has produced. It’s not filled with action or suspense scenes and put its focus on ARTS other than intense war fighting.

“Who would make sure that the statue of David is still standing or the Mona Lisa is still smiling?
Who will protect her?”

By focusing on Arts doesn’t mean this film has perfect cinematography.

No. To be completely honest, the cinematography of this film is quite average, which beg questions for George Clooney’s directorial name as well as the Hollywood blockbuster casts.

The strong contrast between the quality of the cast and the quality of the movie results in many negative reviews and very low ratings.

However, I don’t think it is necessary to only review good films. And since I’m not a film major, I do not judge movies by their cinematography, but rather their stories and messages.

In summary:

The Monuments Men is the story of a group of soldiers gathered with an order to recover and protect as many art pieces as possible during the time of World War II. Some days after the D-Day, the monuments men set out to many significant Nazis bases to recollect the art pieces before the High-level Nazi officers could smuggle them away from their originated countries.


The ‘based-on-true-story’ feature of this film made it more dramatic. The film delivers a strong message about the necessity of arts in human civilization and how we should protect them at all cost regardless of the chaotic situations going on in the world.

Sometimes, Arts are not the highest priority

The one thing that made this film different from other war movies is that there are no real villains in this story. Audience might get the feeling that the Nazis is the bad guys, but that’s not always the case.

We can never forget the fact that the Nazis are only following order too. Morality is the one thing that cannot be compared. There can never be the one side that is right and the other that is wrong. Both were doing the right thing with their own set of morality.

“The army may not care about art, but they sure as shit care about gold.”

Moreover, it’s not just one side of the war that is at fault. It’s basically everyone. I mean everyone would do the same thing in that situation which is abandoning arts. Compare to other necessary factors,
arts is dispensable.

In the film, other soldiers made it really clear that capturing the Axis soldiers was far more important than collecting the stolen art pieces. If they were to choose between the two, the Allies soldiers were willing to bomb the whole tunnel to keep the Nazis from escaping -even though there might be thousand art pieces in that same tunnel.

In the time of war, there are only certain priorities that people care about other than winning or losing the war. Survival, food, shelter, medicine might be one of them, but Arts certainly is not.

2ba6550e00000578-0-image-a-5_1440504521578When we look at the world situation, especially with the recent ISIS this decade, we can see many demolitions of human civilization just for the sake of war. How the Islamic States army destroyed the Arch of Triumph in the ancient city of Palmyra, which can be over 2,000 years old, show the world that was is truly destructive. Not just to the sides that are currently fighting but everyone. And how little anyone cares about it –not enough to stand up for it.

Without arts, everyone loses.

Finally, the film got me thinking that what would happen if the wars ended with all of those art pieces being destroyed. What would happen to our generation? With all the artistic traces of human civilization being gone, would it be worth it to win the war?

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. “


It’s like for cut the brain tumor, you have the side effect of losing all the memory you ever have. Would you still do it?

Is surviving without any memory of ever living really mean surviving?
I don’t think so.

Surviving with no previous memory is like already losing the previous life and starting the new one. Likewise, winning the wars with no trace of civilization remained would not mean winning. If that really happened, everyone in the world would be on the losing side.

Pictures from:


One thought on “The Monuments Men:The priorities in wars

  1. I probably have to spend the holidays after this semester watching all the movies that you recommend. This one also sounds quite interesting and I like the conclusion you draw at the end and hope you will survive our class in a way that’ll be remembered 😉


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