Film | The Monuments Men – Weak wartime comedy drama

Image: Colombia Pictures

The Monuments Men is an American war film, telling the true story of a group of art loving European and American men sent into battle to retrieve works of art from the Nazis before their destruction. Directed by and starring George Clooney, accompanied by a stellar cast of Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett, The Monuments Men shows potential of being a great film. Unfortunately, the reality of it falls quite short of that.

It was hard to gauge the overall tone of the film: it jumps from some brief fighting with the Nazis straight to some flirting between Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett that amounts to nothing, and later to speeches about the importance of art. None of it seems to flow together well.

The film is billed as being a comedy-drama but this term should be understood loosely. The funny parts of the film could at best, be described as mildly amusing and the dramatic parts just were not that dramatic. For me, the funniest part of the film was Cate Blanchett’s French accent. The all star cast unfortunately feels like it has gone to waste; it is a struggle to connect with any of the film’s seven leading characters as there is not enough time spent on any of them. All the characters feel very underdeveloped.

One would assume that a search for great works of art would require some sort of “cunning plan”, as what is basically being conducted is a heist. But there are no parts of the film that leave you thinking ‘that was clever’ and you find yourself simply not really caring whether the protagonists get the art back or not.

If you’re looking for a film to watch with your sweet, elderly grandmother then The Monuments Men would be a great choice. There’s no foul language or crude humour and there’s nothing that is going to make you jump or get upset. There is nothing here that will challenge you in any way.  If you’re wanting a slick, action packed war film then I would like to recommend The Monuments Men but unfortunately, I cannot.

Claire Matthews

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