Throughout the film, this question was posed in different forms: Considering the lives lost, the utter destruction of a world at war, and within the larger scheme of life, why should anyone care about art? Does a painting really matter? What is the worth of a statue compared to the life of a man? Why should we bother to save it?
The fact is that no one, not the real life Monuments Men, nor their fictional counterparts went into the mission believing the physical matter of boards, canvas or marble are of the equal value of a man. This was clear from the start–yet lives were risked, and lost. In spite of this clarity, Kennicott opines,
“But to get to the fundamental dumbness of Clooney’s film, we again need to use the puppy substitution: Hitler, he tells us, hates puppies, which is why he is rounding up all the puppies and keeping them for himself. This doesn’t make any sense, does it?”
Which thoroughly exposes the Kennicott’s just-don’t-get-it factor. Here’s where Becker comes in.