The Monuments Men

"Good"

The Monuments Men Review


For an amazing true story performed by such a strong A-list cast, this is an oddly uninvolving film. Fragmented and uneven, it shifts from comedy to drama to romance to adventure, never letting us get the feel of any sequence. In other words, the episodic structure would have been much more suitable to a longer-format TV series. Even so, this is a fascinating chapter of history that we haven't heard nearly enough about. And the actors are good enough to keep us entertained.

It takes place as the tide begins to turn during World War II, and art historian Frank (Clooney) recruits a team of experts to protect Europe's most important paintings, sculptures and monuments from both Allied bombing and Nazi plundering. He recruits a handful of Americans (Damon, Murray, Goodman and Balaban) to work with a Brit (Bonneville) and a Frenchman (Dujardin), and as they spread out around the continent, they discover that the real problem is that Hitler is stealing art on a massive scale and hiding it somewhere. Working with a resistance-minded French museum curator (Blanchett), they are able to find where some 5 million stolen pieces are stashed.

The central theme is whether art is worth risking your life to save. And if Clooney and Heslov had allowed this idea to seep through the pores of the script, it might have carried a real wallop. But they announce it over and over again, never giving us a chance to think about it ourselves. Everything about the movie is just as unsubtle, with each sequence played for laughs, thrills, drama or romance, as required. Which means that nothing emerges as organic for these simplistically defined characters, who are a composite of some 350 Monuments Men and Women who did a job no one thought was possible. Even so, it's fun to watch these actors play with the material, stirring in snappy details here and there and of course playing on their strong chemistry.

So while the film is an enjoyable depiction of a fascinating series of events, it's also eerily dull. Nothing happens that we don't expect. Patriotic flags are waved at every opportunity. The comedy and suspense feel strangely tepid. And the half-hearted romance only works as spicy subtext to the all-encompassing importance of art. So in the end it's a bit like getting an interesting history lesson from your favourite teacher: you could listen to him talk all day, but you can't help feeling that there's going to be a test later.

Watch 'The Monuments Men' Trailer



The Monuments Men

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th February 2014

Box Office USA: $78.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $155M

Budget: $80M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Studio Babelsberg, Columbia Pictures, Fox 2000 Pictures, Smokehouse Pictures, Obelisk Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Fresh: 68 Rotten: 149

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as James Granger, as Claire Simone, as Frank Stokes, as Richard Campbell, as Walter Garfield, as Donald Jeffries, as Jean Claude Clermont, as Preston Savitz, Holger Handtke as Colonel Wegner, as Sam Epstein, as Viktor Stahl, Zahary Baharov as Commander Elya, as Colonel Langton, as Captain Harpen, Serge Hazanavicius as Rene Armand, Udo Kroschwald as Hermann Goering, as Doctor, Michael Brandner as Dentist, Alexandre Desplat as Emile, Luc Feit as Aachen Vicar, Claudia Geisler as Stahl's Wife

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.