Film Review: The Monuments Men

the-monuments-men-poster02Directed by George Clooney

Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and John Goodman

Inglorious Basterds meets Ocean’s 11 in this war story about recovering art from the Nazis during World War II. Clooney stars as art historian Frank Stokes who is in charge of a team of artists and lecturers who go out into the field to make sure they can preserve history and culture from the ravages of war.

This is a story that should be told, it’s sad to say that it’s not told well here. The film is episodic, dull and plodding. Our team, The Monuments Men, have no real characteristics (apart from accents), all we get to know about them is that they love art and aren’t too fond of Nazis (well, also we learn that Damon can’t speak French and Murray has a daughter). After we are introduced to our team, they are immediately split up, thus disallowing any fun interactions between them. The film almost seems to work at removing any moments of possible entertainment.

On each adventure that The Monuments Men go on there is surprisingly little tension. They find most of the art they are looking for with relative ease. Any conflicts they come across are either left unresolved or cleaned up at an incredibly speedy pace. Sadly the speedy pace is not applied to the runtime of the film which lags at just under two hours.

It is sad to see such a truly talented cast wasted on this. Nobody gets a moment to shine as nobody really has any moments. The most memorable performance comes from Murray yelling “Holy Shit”. This is only memorable as it’s the only time we see the Murray that we know and love shine through.

The Monuments Men is a war movie without any conflict, a comedy without any laughs and a drama without any gravitas. There is a nice score (though it doesn’t really fit the film) and a fairly interesting plot, even if it is badly told, but sadly this just isn’t enough to save this mess of a film. If there is a World War III, there will be no team sent to preserve this film. A monumental disappointment.

1.5/5

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