I saw an 8 p.m. showing of this film, having read a brief synopsis but not having seen any trailers and thinking it mildly interesting but not having any great expectations of it.
The premise of the central plot of the film sounded ridiculous - a special American task force sent to Europe during WWII with the objective of protecting the art. This is made to seem all the more laughable when Frank Stokes (Clooney) sets about recruiting his elite team of near retired military ‘has-beens’. To make it further incredulous, this IS a True Story. Though filled with light-hearted banter (a recurring comment on how bad someone’s French is comes to mind), it eventually becomes clear that there is a very serious and important undertone to this film. The issue here is that Hitler is collecting [read stealing] as much fine art as he can get his hands on so that he can open the “Führer Museum”.
They may be on what is seen by many within the plot of the film as a joke mission but they are still thrust into the heart of war and there are casualties and tense encounters. When there came a distinct possibly that he would lose the war, Hitler gave the order to destroy all the art if this became the reality. Only when our heroes start to uncover the art do we notice just how important this mission truly was. Artefacts such as the Madonna and Child of the Bruges Cathedral and the Adoration of the Lamb were shown to have been at risk of being lost to the world.
It is not a slick masterpiece of cinema but is enjoyable and does have some strong performances. If for nothing else, it should be experienced for its importance and historical significance.
7/10 for me.