The Monuments Men
It’s 1944 and Clooney’s Harvard art conservator approaches President Roosevelt with a plan to save Europe’s great works of art falling into the hands of the retreating Germans. He’s given permission to round up a ragbag coterie of artists, art dealers and historians – Damon, Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, and Downton’s Hugh Bonneville – who are handed a rifle, given basic training and set out to track down the priceless art the Nazis have stolen…
The Monuments Men has problems with needless sequences that have zero impact on the story: one typical scene has Dujardin and Goodman pinned down by sniper fire, which is included merely so a shot is fired in anger (it is a war movie after all) while a three-way stand-off between Murray, Balaban and a lost German soldier dribbles away to nothing. Murray and Balaban are presented as a comic duo but their antics are forced and similar problems inhibit the subplot romance between Paris-based Damon and Blanchett’s bookkeeper. They feel they belong to a bigger story, possibly a miniseries.
The episodic nature results in pacing issues. We’re told that the Germans will destroy all of their stolen art if Hitler dies – part of his Nero Decree - and that the Russians are fast approaching from the east, looking to get their hands on the art themselves. But this urgency doesn’t translate to the screen. There is no push, no ticking clock. Too much time is given over to justifying the mission through voiceover – is a painting worth a man’s life?
But it’s not all bad. Clooney aims for an easy-going atmosphere, mixing the Oceans Trilogy fun factor – ‘Isn’t it entertaining being in the presence of this cast?’ these movies seem to ask – with an old fashioned 40s caper and hits it dead on. The Monuments Men really picks up in the last half hour with Clooney waking the movie from its stupor - the team scramble to retrieve the last pieces of art from a blown mine just as the Russians reach the outskirts of the town. If only the rest of the movie was like that.
Review by Gavin Burke | 13:17 | Saturday 8th February 2014 | Movie Review
More Clooney and Damon? euurrrrgh x-s no thanks! If it wasnt for Blanchett and the rest I wouldnt give tuppence to see itPosted 01:55 | Tue 10th Dec 2013
This film was a shambles. I've liked every movie Clooney has made thus far (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was a masterpiece), but tonally, this was all over the place. At times, the music jarred with what was happening on screen, we'd go from scenes of tragedy to awful one-liners. It couldn't decide if it was an earnest war movie or a light hearted historical romp. The episodic narrative structure was horrible. Very very poor effort.Posted 22:15 | Thu 20th Feb 2014
I don't know if these people were watching the same movie as me, I think we are so blasted by gratuitous sex and violence in movies that we fail to recognise a good old fashioned storytelling movie. If you even have a peek at the trailer you know that it is not going to be a hardhitting documentary type telling of the book but as the reviewer states "an old fashioned 40's caper", and a truly amazing story. I for one really enjoyed this movie and felt safe in knowing that I was not going to be bombarded with unecessary violence and the need for every man/woman connection to be fraught with needless sex in an effort to follow the trend set by most recent blockbusters such as "Wolf of Wallstreet" or the constant need to come out of it (like previous Clooney movies) feeling if you didn't understand it, you missed something! Do yourself a favour, have a look at a style of movie you can go see without checking first if your senses are going to be pounded into oblivion!!!!Posted 09:43 | Wed 26th Feb 2014
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