The Monuments Men – Review


There’s a moment you imagine whilst watching The Monuments Men in which George Clooney sits in a lavish Italian villa, sipping his Nespresso and flicking through a cop of The New Yorker. Soon, George comes to an article about a relatively unknown band of artisans protecting the great works of humanity during World War II, and instantly an idea forms. “This is a story I must tell!” George shouts out loud. “I shall assemble a team of my acting friends and we shall make this story known!”. And if that were the sum total of motivation and thought behind The Monuments Men, it wouldn’t terribly surprise.


Written by Clooney and longtime collaborator Grant Heslov, you can’t help but marvel at the wasted potential in The Monuments Men. In the director’s seat yet again, Clooney has assembled a top-notch cast of comedic talent and yet somehow the film has so little momentum that that cast is put upon time and time again to simply charm the audience to the point that they won’t notice. However much charm you throw at your audience however, it’s hard not to notice just how little is actually going on on-screen.


It goes without saying that the cast are uniformly great, very likeable and engaging, although in some cases slightly too “cool” to really be taken seriously in a wartime context. Blanchett is somewhat wasted as the quintessential romantic fodder, relegating Damon to a somewhat sidelined role as well, his entire function being to sit at antique tables and bat his eyelids. The Artist’s Jean Dujardin impresses somewhat as the rather infectiously cheerful French member of the titular group, but he’s just another great part that, along with all the other great parts, simply can’t build a satisfying whole.


Stylishly directed by Clooney, but poorly conceived and woefully underdeveloped, The Monuments Men would make for a fascinating magazine article but it’s sadly not a very interesting film, despite the sheer number of things it has going for it. What you want is The DaVinci Dozen, what you get is Saving Private Picasso.



Catch Van Connor’s reviews in our Movies section and live on Slam Dunk Cinema every Saturday at 12PM on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM or on the podcast via iTunes.


In it
George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon

Behind it
George Clooney

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