THE MONUMENTS MEN Movie Review
It would be near impossible to not get excited when hearing the pitch for the story of this movie, the adventure of searching for hidden artifacts, the danger of being discovered by Nazis. For a filmmaker who has proven his talent with Good Night, and Good Luck, an intriguing and unfamiliar story, not to mention an ensemble of some of the greatest actors working in film, you might assume there is no possible way to fail with The Monuments Men. Apparently someone has discovered the secret, because not only does this film not live up to it’s potential, but is for the most part practically lifeless.
A platoon comprising of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Hugh Bonneville are entering Germany during the closing stages of World War 2 to rescue artworks stolen by the Nazis, to prevent them from being destroyed, and return them to their rightful owners. Damon is sent to Paris, so he can extract information from Cate Blanchett about where the Germans have hidden their stolen Parisian art and some unexpected casualties motivate the men to search harder, so their work has not been for nothing.
What should have been a fascinating and engaging story, turns out to be a big disappointment as scenes are rushed from one event to another with no substance between them. The characters are so underdeveloped that they are practically one dimensional archetypes, that only have personality because of the actors playing them. Clooney’s intentions were obvious and sincere, as you can see he was aiming for a non-cynical and old fashioned kind of war heist movie but the end results unfortunately gave us an identity crisis of a movie with an uneven tone and lack of characters to feel anything for. The score is persistent and attempts to inspire into a movie that’s dead on arrival due to poor scripting. Despite the missteps we’ve gotten lately, I expected more from George Clooney. Here’s to hoping he takes his time with his next project, so it doesn’t end up like this.
Official synopsis for The Monuments Men:
Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action drama focusing on seven over-the-hill, out-of-shape museum directors, artists, architects, curators, and art historians who went to the front lines of WWII to rescue the world’s artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. With the art hidden behind enemy lines, how could these guys hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements. From director George Clooney, the film stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett. The screenplay is by George Clooney & Grant Heslov, based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter. Produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney.