The Monuments Men Review

The Plot:

Monuments Men is inspired by the extraordinary but often forgotten true story of the unlikely team of soldiers who battled on the front lines of WWII to rescue the world’s artistic masterpieces from Nazi theft and the devastation of war. Racing behind enemy lines these passionate museum curators and art lovers turned soldiers raced to preserve 1000 years of culture by protecting mankind’s greatest achievements

The Good:

Directed by leading man George Clooney, The Monument’s Men boasts an impressive all-star cast that includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett. The well-known ensemble deliver predictably accomplished if understated performances, which keep a contemplative script watchable and compelling. Solid supporting work from Hugh Bonneville and Bob Babalan in particular add some sincere heart and humour to a tale of unexpected heroism.

George Clooney balances writing and directing responsibilities with a typically assured on camera performance. Lending his thoughtful gravel voiced charms to the role of group leader for the impassioned ‘Monuments Men’. Clooney’s directing style continues to reflect the well-considered poise that distinguishes him as an actor and permeates many of his performances, including this one.

Though the film never delves too deeply into the violent chaos of war, it dose inflict poignant loses on its heroes that injects elements of danger and uncertainty, particularly as the film reaches it’s increasingly urgent climax.

Acclaimed composer Alexandre Desplat provides a beautiful soundtrack which is vital in evoking the subtle emotional tone of the film. This music often entirely transforms scenes by providing invaluable depth to the frequent moments of otherwise quiet reflection that frequently punctuates the film.

While the film is neither a hilarious heist flick nor a sweeping war epic, it sits somewhere between those two extremes vaguely in the spirit of The Great Escape or The Dirty Dozen. Taking it’s time to tell a story filled with a perhaps surprising amount of optimism.

The Bad:

The Monuments Men suffers under an inevitable weight of critical expectations given its intriguing subject matter and luminous cast.

Those anticipating a jaunty high spirited comedy caper may find the films methodical pace and often muted tone somewhat unsatisfying. Likewise those hoping for a heart-breaking and emotionally charged account of one of the most devastating periods of human history may find the film perhaps lacks the scale and intensity required.

A calculated marketing campaign pitching the film as Ocean’s 11 goes to war, overstates the film’s credentials as a ‘heist’ movie and outright comedy. It misleads audiences even if the actual film itself may not ultimately disappoint them.

The Ugly Truth:

The Monuments Men might lack the awards grabbing showmanship many critics anticipated but it remains an enjoyable and easily watched wartime adventure, filled with a assured performances from a well assembled A-List cast.

Check out video interviews below with the full cast and author of the book which inspired the film:

Leave A Comment