"The Monuments Men" Movie Review: 2 Stars
by Michael Phillips
A genial disappointment about the preciousness of art amid the destructive horrors of war, "The Monuments Men"
is scored to a military march by composer
You hear what he was going for: jaunty heroics.
The throwback sound of it suggests the director, co-writer and star
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It almost works.
The whole film, with its unfashionable techniques (slow fades and dissolves by the dozen) and uber-relaxed,
old-school vibe, almost works. Yet Clooney's attempt to honor unsung real-life heroes while recapturing the
ensemble pleasures of some well-remembered
You keep waiting for it to kick into gear, for the odd-couple banter between
It's "Ocean's Eight," this time with serious historical import.
The script by Clooney and Grant Heslov offers the actors an outline and some functional scenes, mostly two-handers.
But at some point during filming in
It's a wonderful subject, which makes the engagement level all the more frustrating. The curators, architects, art historians and artists of the FDR-sanctioned Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives crew scrambled around
Largely fictionalized, the film compresses events and cooks up dramatic death scenes, even as it asks the audience to chuckle through a scene of Damon's character trapped atop an unexploded land mine. That scene is followed, abruptly, by the discovery of barrels of gold teeth extracted from Jewish concentration camp prisoners. The change-up is jarring, intentionally. The effect feels misjudged.
Clooney plays a
Clooney's work as a director includes "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "The
The actors are quite marvelous, and a brief sequence featuring "Downton Abbey's" Bonneville as dissolute art lover out for redemption, in which he asks a superior officer for permission to go into Bruges and save a Madonna, provides exactly what the rest of the movie lacks -- namely, some snap.
Clooney acts with more charm than urgency in "The Monuments Men." He's a far better actor than many realize;
he makes everything look easy. But this time he really does just sort of George-Clooney his way through.
See John Frankenheimer's "The Train" again, the one with
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for some images of war violence and historical smoking). Running time: 1:50.
"The Monuments Men" Movie Trailer
"The Monuments Men" is an action adventure featuring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, and Bob Balaban. It is based on a true story dating back to the time of World War II. It shows a group of men that are fighting to return irreplaceable art to their owners- after it was taken by Nazi thieves. Watch this powerful film and what these men will do to maintain a piece of history and a piece of who they are.