|2014||118 Min||Action . Drama . History . War|
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?
|Actors:||Dimitri Leonidas , Holger Handtke , Bob Balaban , Jean Dujardin , Hugh Bonneville , John Goodman , Bill Murray , George Clooney , Cate Blanchett , Matt Damon|
This is their story. It is true. It is history. As a film, it is riveting, suspenseful, harrowing and exciting, and somehow, it also manages to be something rare among war pictures—a big-scale entertainment.
The film depicts a treasure hunt, only in the sense that the movie has to have a running story. But it doesn't really trade on suspense or adventure, and in the few places Clooney pushes it that way, it doesn't feel right.
Except possibly for a superlative supporting performance by Hugh Bonneville of “Downton Abbey,’’ Clooney’s low-key directorial effort is not quite an Oscar-caliber movie, though it’s got a great cast, a worthy theme and plenty of things to reward adult moviegoers.
If you’re worried that the re-teaming of Clooney and Cate Blanchett in a World War II movie signals something like “The Good German,” fear not: She’s better here, playing a French art historian who worries the Americans will “rescue” the art in order to steal it for their own country.
This is a solid albeit slow-building film with few dull moments.
Who knew? The work of the Monuments Men is fresh territory for film, and Clooney builds the story with intriguing detail and scope.
Rather than juicing each element to blockbuster volume, Clooney has delivered it in the tone of a memorial lecture, warm and ambling, given by one of the distinguished academics he put in his movie.
The Monuments Men fails in its grand ambitions, but it's still satisfying in bits and pieces, like a busted statue. Even a tribute made of shining fragments counts for something.
It’s a graceful, engaging film — I enjoyed it. But it could have been called "The Tasteful Dozen."
Turns out it was even trickier than originally imagined and that for all of its best efforts, The Monuments Men remains an unwieldy, overtly sentimental (but still emotionally distant) epic.
Certainly, the story told by The Monuments Men is worth telling and it's easy to see why a luminary like Clooney would be sufficiently attracted to want to direct it. Unfortunately, this treatment, written by Clooney and long-time collaborator Grant Heslov, isn't the best fit.
The Monuments Men often lets the schematic gears show, succumbing to threadbare formula and sentimental cliches rather than taut, sophisticated drama.
Heart alone does not a good film make.
It’s admirable, but Monuments Men just poses on a porous foundation like a statue.
Clooney, for the first time in his directing career (“Good Night, and Good Luck,” “The Ides of March”) never finds the sweet spot, and never quite wrestled the script into a shape entertaining enough to make the liberties he and Heslov took with the facts worth it.
There’s great repartee between its cast of this “based on a true [but forgotten] story” of World War II. Yet the film overall isn’t colorful enough.
It comes down to a matter of tone, and Clooney can’t really settle on one. The Monuments Men is in no way a bad movie. Just, with this bunch, a disappointing one.
Clooney occasionally shows a surer hand: He gets great work from Downton Abbey’s Bonneville — notably in an emotionally charged scene revolving around Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges — and has a fine monologue himself, in which Stokes dresses down a high-ranking German commander (a moving encapsulation of the American spirit at its best).
Monuments certainly isn’t unbearable to watch, but for all its quality pedigree and good intentions, the result is a frustratingly flat film that drifts from moment to moment with a curious lack of urgency and an overbearing sense of self-importance.
Mostly it's hamstrung by an abundance of reverence and dialogue sounding like an art studies syllabus when it isn't rehashing war movie tropes.
Smothered by its lighthearted approach, The Monuments Men attempts to make a grand statement about the valiance of dying for the sake of art, but fails to create it.
Alas, it's a throwback that's thrown its back out - limping along, trailed by battalions of stereotypes and ammo rounds of cliche.
By the film’s end, one can’t help thinking that the story would be better served by a well-researched documentary on the real-life MFAA division (monuments, fine arts and archives.)
Genial and well-intentioned, but tepid.
It can be nice to spend time with these actors even when you don’t believe their characters for a single second, and there’s no denying this movie’s easy pleasures... Yet because Mr. Clooney can’t figure out what kind of story this is, he too often slips into pandering mode.
It’s a great story, and much of it’s true. This should work like a pip. Instead, The Monuments Men is a tonal mishmash: Half “Hogan’s Post-Doctoral Heroes,” half “Saving Private Rembrandt,” and half “Ingres’s 11.” That’s three halves, so you can see the problem.
In The Monuments Men, director George Clooney takes a wild, stranger-than-fiction true story and turns it into a dull, prestigious slog.
George Clooney's film boils a big, messy maelstrom of theft and uncertainty down to a digestible, faintly appetizing mush.
The Monuments Men feels not just self-conscious but also a bit self-congratulatory, its creator squashing the spirit of adventure with too many grandiose lines about the Importance Of Art.
Ultimately, however, this film is a collection of vignettes in search of a narrative center. Although it’s enjoyable, the film never coheres into a whole. Instead, it resembles a pile of ill-fitting jigsaw-puzzle pieces rather than a fully formed picture.
Clooney's attempt to honor unsung real-life heroes while recapturing the ensemble pleasures of some well-remembered Hollywood war pictures, notably "The Great Escape" and "The Guns of Navarone," comes off as a modestly accomplished forgery at best.
Something less than monumental, The Monuments Men wears its noble purpose on its sleeve when either greater grit or more irreverence could have put the same tale across to modern audiences with more punch and no loss of import.
It’s like an over-the-hill gang variant on “The Dirty Dozen,” except not as much fun as that sounds.
The story of the rescue of these priceless artifacts is absolutely worthy of as much attention as Hollywood can provide. But by the final, self-congratulatory, groan-inducing scene, it's more than clear that this telling of it is a monumental mess.
The Monuments Men sounds like a what's-not-to-like? movie, but it turns out to be a bizarre failure.
The problem isn't a lack of weight, but of lightness. It's stuck with lead feet for a historical caper and serves no other worthwhile purpose.
An amazing story and an amazing cast don’t always make an amazing film. Too light for drama, not funny enough for comedy; it’s unlikely anyone will ever risk their lives for this.
All aspects of this great story are drawn toward the middle ground of mediocrity.
There's lots of information, some nice images, plenty of earnest sermonizing about culture and almost no suspense, or tension, or character development, or structure. Or, well, art.
It can't decide what kind of a film it wants to be and so ends up failing across a fairly wide spectrum.
The movie's tone is at war with its subject, and sometimes with its wavering self.
While the film is often playful, it never attempts to be particularly funny, perhaps out of a fear that too much levity in a World War II-themed movie would be in poor taste. Instead, it loads on great quantities of tacky crowd-pleasing moments and clichés.
Clooney has transformed a fascinating true-life tale into an exceedingly dull and dreary caper pic cum art-appreciation seminar — a museum-piece movie about museum people.
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