Written by: Chris Kessler
Movies based on World War II are generally action-packed and violent, but “The Monuments Men” trades in bullets and guns for paintings and sculptures.
“The Monuments Men” tells the true story of a group of men tasked with the mission of going into Germany to rescue artwork stolen by Hitler and the Nazis.
Not only did George Clooney write and direct the film, he also stars in it alongside Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban and Cate Blanchett. With such a star-studded cast, I expected more.
The film fails to build upon the unique and interesting story with any real excitement, beginning (and ending) with an unimaginative classroom-style slideshow presentation.
The film’s lack of focus adds to its dullness; it’s all over the place−literally. The group is split-up and sent all over Europe. One minute, we see characters in France, and the next minute the scene suddenly shifts to Germany.
The film’s focus is as broad as the group’s mission to recover stolen art from Hitler. As a viewer, I found it difficult to understand exactly what the group was doing to locate the art.
I believe the film would have been better as an HBO miniseries. At least then there would have been more time for character and plot development.
When the film does clearly present a conflict in its plot, there is some actual tension that gains interest; however, these occurrences happen so rarely that they really fail to add much to the film besides serving as small shots of adrenaline.
The comedy is awkward and dry. While it attempts to energize the audience, it never really gets all the way there. You keep waiting for that big laugh amongst all the small chuckles, but you end up holding your breath instead.
There’s a running gag with Matt Damon speaking poor French that manages to get a grin and brief laugh out of me, but nothing more. Such a response sums up the entire film–a small reaction, but nothing substantial.
The story of these men risking their lives to protect our culture is quite honorable, but “The Monuments Men” is nothing more than a mediocre, large-scale documentary.