Tuesday, March 11, 2014

'Monuments Men': " Am I My Brother's Keeper?"

When Columbia Pictures released 'Monuments Men'  about a month ago, many flocked to nearby movie houses to watch its widescreen version. I was one such viewer. This compelling cinema is still in most theaters and well worth the seeing.

Can human rights be restored? 

This well depicted World War II film dramatizes the morning after the night before.
Germany's then fuhrer Adolph Hitler had chosen to eliminate an entire race of people from the face of the earth. It was not enough to eradicate those whom he despised.  Hitler proceeded to take anything of value his victims owned, claiming those things as his reward...Among the spoils were some of the greatest works of art throughout  the ages. Trademarks of such masters as Rembrandt, Picasso, Rodin and Michelangelo comprised the ego-crazed fuhrer's bag of insults really--to the whole of humanity. . 

"Now, a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves..."
Eight determined souls (seven men from across the globe and a lone Resistance woman) join forces to undo at least one of Hitler's  war crime. George Clooney, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett anchor the spirit of the film. And that spirit is this: what was  stolen needed to be recovered. Dignity to Hitler's victims needed to be restored. Five other  protagonists join the three, expertly breathing life  into the powerful story of  'The 'Monuments Men', released just weeks before the 2014 High Holy Days of the Passover/Easter  season.
Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban provide strong and convincing characterizations that  help to unfold this fact-based account of Hitler's inhumanity at its worst.. From  start to finish, and with  great force, the well crafted plot pulls most movie-goers from their cushioned theater seats and directly into the war torn fields of Europe.

"Then along came a Samaritan..."
In the dramatization, danger lurks from behind wind blown trees and down quiet country roads, impeding the seven gladiators' hope to right a terrible wrong. In scenes where Nazi soldiers appear, stillness and silence move through  the  audience until our brave men are once again safe. The audience wants what the 'Monuments Men' want--Hitler and his followers must not go unchecked.

Am I my brother's keeper?
In the total scheme of World War II, the risky business of returning these artistic monuments to their rightful owners might seem small by comparison. Yet ,the realization becomes clear as the film progresses and makes its point. To remain silent at such a fragile time would have been to cosign the wickedness behind everything Fuhrer Hitler's betrayal to all of humankind represented.
Are we our brother's keeper? If we were that brother--would we need a keeper, ourselves?  Monuments Men'  places us not only in its well told story but in our hearts as well.  If there is light and kindness in our hearts, we cannot but help ANY brother or sister in need.

A Monumental "5-Star" Movie.
After seeing it on widescreen, I am certain that I will add it to my collection. In this season of looking at ourselves in hopes of becoming better human beings, none can choose a better story to point one in that narrow direction than...Monuments Men.

Yes, we are our brothers' (and  our sisters') keepers.



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