Mona Lisa is Missing is a documentary, which follows the theft of the Mona Lisa, by Vincenzo Peruggia. Although there are plenty of books out there about the actual theft of the Mona Lisa, they tell very little about who stole Mona Lisa. The documentary is much different. It focuses specifically on Vincenzo Peruggia, his crime, his background and ultimately his intentions.
The Mona Lisa is Missing documentary marvels in the fact that a simple house painter, with a limited criminal history, could pull off the masterful heist of the Mona Lisa. Of course, once the movie reenacts the crime, it really isn’t that masterful at all. Back in August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was simply another painting and wasn’t so well protected. So, old Vincenzo walked right in, blended him into his old workplace, and snatched the painting.
The cops end up blaming everyone, because so old house painter couldn’t do the trick. Unfortunately, Peruggia is later arrested, when he attempts to sell the Mona Lisa. At this point, his motivations are brought into question. Was Vincenzo a madman? Was he attempting to get back at his rude co-workers for calling him “dirty macaroni”? Or, as he trying to patriotically return the painting back to Italy?
According to the documentary, none of the above. Vincenzo Perugia was caught in a crappy job that had already left him with lead poisoning twice! Plus, he was getting no respect for his co-workers. The young man wanted to elevated himself from poverty! And his plan? The steal the Mona Lisa and sell it. Anyone could easily sympathize with Vincenzo and understand his motivations.
So, what happened to Peruggia? Well, he went to trial, went to jail and served 7 months. He passed away on October the 8, 1925 at 44. The same day he was born. There are definitely some interesting tidbits in Mona Lisa is Missing. Pablo Picasso getting caught up in the whole heist and becoming a suspect. A look at several other suspects. And Vincenzo returning to the scene of the crime years later with a girlfriend.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the movie, although some of the commentary was a little annoying. Still, the documentary is well worth checking out. A 8 out of 10 is deserved.