The Review: The Monuments Men is the untold story of the men who protected and searched for stolen artwork and artefacts during the latter days of WWII. George Clooney plays Frank Stokes who is set the task by President Roosevelt to put a team of specialists together and go to German occupied France and Belgium to recover these valuable items. Needless to say, they are a rag tag bunch comprising of Matt Damon who is the curator of the Metropolitan Museum, architect Bill Murray, art critic Bob Balaban, sculptor John Goodman, painter Jean Dujardin and art historian Hugh Bonneville.
After having to go through basic training, the group are deployed across Europe, the majority of the time they are shouted at by senior officers who don’t care about protecting art, the rest of the time they seem to be chasing their tails apart from Matt Damon who goes to Paris where he meets Cate Blanchettes art curator who was employed by the Nazis to catalogue all of the stolen art and who may know its whereabouts.
Again Clooney proves that he is a solid director with this latest labour of love, it can almost be described as Oceans WWII as it focuses on a large cast of famous names stealing items from the rich and powerful albeit this time it’s the Nazis. The film itself is not without faults, the main one being trying to give each of the characters enough screen time to enable the audience to identify with them, some get too much (step forward Matt Damon and Cate Blanchette) and some are criminally underused (Bob Balaban and the always impressive John Goodman).
This is not the worst of it though, that is reserved for Cate Blanchette whose character is so wooden she could do with taking acting lessons from Keanu Reeves and Pinocchio. Blanchette phones the performance in and does not seem to be making any effort at all and it shows as each scene she is in seems to drag the film backwards.
The film is also disjointed in its narrative as it tries to balance the screen time for the characters as the months (and the viewing time) roll past. It is almost ninety minutes into the film that anything of real importance starts to happen.
In short, yes this is a worthy film as it sheds light on the role that The Monuments Men played in saving much of Europe’s art, however, like a school trip around an art gallery it soon becomes boring and forgettable.
Reviewed By: Matt Duddy
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