The Monuments Men (Film) Review

The Monuments Men

Released: 7th February 2014
Director: George Clooney
Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 112

Its intentions are noble and its cast is impressive, but neither can compensate for The Monuments Men's stiffly nostalgic tone and curiously slack narrative.

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action drama focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys - seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 - possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, 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. (c) Sony

Geoffrey Macnab (Independent) said:
"For all its tremendous production values, George Clooney's The Monuments Men is a profoundly frustrating and unsatisfying film. Clooney simply can't settle on a tone for the story he is trying to tell."

Nigel Andrews (Financial Times) said:
"Clooney the star schmoozes through on a gallon of charm and a pint of invention. He has said he might give up acting for directing. I think he already has."

Adam Woodward (Little White Lies) said:
"By no means a cheap forgery, but no masterpiece either."

James Mottram (The List) said:
"Even low expectations won't help you here, with a story that's neither amusing nor dramatic."

Andrew Pulver (Guardian [UK]) said:
"This displays none of the nimble-witted sleight of hand, nor indeed old-fashioned suspense, of Argo, the last historical caper movie with which Clooney was involved."

William Goss ( said:
"A frustratingly flat film that drifts from moment to moment with a curious lack of urgency and an overbearing sense of self-importance."

Ann Hornaday (Washington Post) said:
"If The Monuments Men never overcomes its unwieldy structure and unevenness of tone, the film still manages to make a profound, even subtle point: that Hitler's darkest impulses and annihilating reach extended from human beings to history itself."

Andrew O'Hehir ( said:
"Clooney's movie is a slow-witted, occasionally agreeable retread of numerous WWII band-of-brothers flicks its director no doubt watched on TV as a 1970s teenager."

Richard Roeper (Richard said:
"This is a solid albeit slow-building film with few dull moments."

Liam Lacey (Globe and Mail) said:
"The high-minded message about preserving Western civilization often feels at odds with the movie's half-hearted heist-flick approach."

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