The Monuments Men (2014)

The Monuments Men (2014)
  • Time: 118 min
  • Genre: Action | Biography | Drama
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman


During World War II, Frank Stokes learns that Hitler is stealing all of the great works of art for his personal museum. So with permission from Roosevelt, Stokes recruits 6 men who are each art experts and they go to Europe under the guise of being soldiers to find out where the art that was taken is. And when some of them while trying to do it; it becomes personal for the rest to finish what they started. And things get dire when the Germans are ordered to burn the art if they lose the war. And the Russians are also out to get the art for themselves.


  • George Clooney is usually considered a good actor and an even better director. Although he directed only a few movies, almost all of them were good, especially The Ides of March and Good Night and Good Luck. So it was natural to expect much from The Monuments Men, particularly since, even before its release (and its postponement), it was considered an Oscar contender. Add to all this the cast of good and talented actors, and the interesting true story (I’d never heard of the monuments men before), and you’ll get something that’s probably too good to be true. But The Monuments Men isn’t good: it’s a very confusing movie that is either extremely comedic or extremely dramatic, and it doesn’t work.

    The Monuments Men are a group of art historians and museum directors and curators, led by Frank Stokes (George Clooney), who are sent to Europe during World War II in order to try and prevent the Nazis from stealing and destroying art pieces, and to find the art that has been stolen so they can return it to the rightful owners. They start off as a group, but are then sent, as couples, each in a different town, throughout France and Germany. The story is simple, but it’s very difficult to follow what’s happening, since there are characters who look similar (Hugh Bonneville is like a combination of Bill Murray and John Goodman) and only Matt Damon and George Clooney’s characters are properly introduced, from the beginning. All the others eventually gain some personality towards the end of the movie.

    It could be said that there’s no villain in this movie. Of course, the Nazis are the bad guys, but it’s not easy to feel the tension of war and fighting if you don’t have a physical character that represents the bad guys. There are some shots of Hitler and various generals/officers, but all of them are just generically sleazy and irritating, like there hasn’t been put any effort in making them quality villains, because we already know Nazis were bad people. Another big problem with the movie is that, for a lot of its duration, it seems like a collection of loosely connected individual stories, and when one ends and the other one begins, the most common reaction is “oh, I forgot this guy was in the movie”. And this happened every time they showed Matt Damon on screen. Logically, you can’t connect with the characters and feel for them – even when somebody dies, you couldn’t care less.

    The soundtrack isn’t objectively bad, but it’s more suited for a Disney movie than The Monuments Men, and it makes even the most serious and dramatic moments look pathetic and silly. The things that redeem this movie are the good performances by the cast, some well-executed scenes and the story – because, as I’ve already said, I had never heard of the monuments men before, this movie taught me something. It’s just sad that such an important and interesting part of history has been ignored until now, and has been ruined with this movie, that can’t seem to decide whether it wants to be a comedy or a drama, so it goes from tragic scenes of death to scenes that look like spoofs. In short, you better skip this movie.

    Rating: 6/10

  • (Rating: 2 / 5) Now things work best when based on real events… well , no. “The Monuments Men” received many bad reviews, being defended only by Peter Travers and some other minority. It is not very difficult to discover the fury of American journalism. Too bad this time that the failure has resulted in a rather beloved actor, who does not understand the rules of the genre of war / assault or even drama

    When we speak of a war movie, the first thing one imagines are suffering but victorious heroes, many honorable kills and explosions, reflections on the war drama, a group of truly charismatic characters to care about them. Now when we talk of a film of assault or rescue, one imagines elaborate plans, great victories and booties, the setback and / or the laws of Murphy, a group of characters that are utilitarian (each serves a specific function, a piece supplementing the operating process), and a group of charismatic characters to care for them. Unfortunately, “The Monuments Men” fails badly in all this core of composition, and the movie is not neither “Inglorious Basterds” or “Dirty Dozen” or “Ocean’s Eleven”

    “The Monuments Men” lacks flow and temperature narrative, which spend many things very steep (failure of narrative flow) and the film does not have a dynamic direction where it should be. The editing of the film is very strange, so certain characters or subplots are separated into periods of coarsely big time (eg the plot of Matt Damon-Cate Blanchett: a few moments of exposure, pass to another story, and after twenty minutes back with Damon-Blanchett), or disjointed sequences that alter the tone (the death of Clermont, which could leach to the edition unless the movie wanted that death occurs, or when an enemy at night aiming a gun at them two protagonists and smoke a cigarette, nor contribute anything). Which means that the film is not parallel, not following each character smoothly and steadily. Part of the failure of the edition may be due to the need to plug the holes in script, which does not provide depth to the large and expensive cast: no one is developed (eg Blanchett’s brother stays in a simple story) and are quite anonymous

    But these are not the only problems of the script. To be a war, it is too pristine in human material: only 2 deaths. But worst of all is the look of these deaths: in a war film genre, the death of a protagonist must be honorable or at least dramatically important. Instead, the characters who die here are not neither great nor heroes shaping the spirit, but their deaths are quite passive to load a film: one is shot without even being minimal combat sequence , and the other is mortally wounded by truck stop their march at the least expected place. For a production of assault or rescue, there is no elaborate plans but the findings are achieved by common tracks (eg, the information provided by Cate Blanchett), and director Clooney directs the film very routine: there is no tension or problems of last minute (the imminent arrival of the Russians or the mine at the feet of Damon lacks of adrenaline, plus the character of Damon speaks too much nonsense in that sequence: I want you to know that if I die…), and the findings were not celebrated: When one robs a bank or get a victory, usually celebrates and builds a festive atmosphere, but here is all routine and the rescues of artistic works and gold (ie wins) are not exposed so make it awesome or a great achievement. Amid the problems of script and direction, there is a bit of light comedy and some inspirational speeches that are ridiculous by the context or by the poor quality of the film

    “The Monuments Men” is terrible, has many faults and changes of tone that the film ends up being something lifeless just a moderately developed dramatic moments (when Damon and Blanchett meet in Paris), and some excerpts performances: Blanchett and Clooney (not even John Goodman “The Big Lebowski” can do anything, even he is less histrionic here than in “Inside Llewyn Davis”). For those devastated “The Book Thief ” or the mediocre “So Undercover”, “The Monuments Men” really is bad, inert . Since the characters are forgettables, the bailouts are monotonous, the flow is abrupt, the deaths are boring, there is not even a sense of style or trend or fun (the kind that Americans like), the overall of the film is cold and clinical, “The Monuments Men” is the worst kind of war movie: easier in theory (hiring an expensive cast for a Second World War story) that in practice

  • At first sight, everything seems to be going for this film: the concept, the cast, the director, the writers — even the trailer makes it seem worthwhile. So what went wrong? The writing went wrong.

    The film does a good job of showing that no matter how great other aspects may be, without good writing you have nothing. With perhaps the exception of Clooney’s character, there is little development for many of the other characters. This becomes apparent when certain scenes arise requiring an emotional response, but since we’re yet to really get to know them, we feel nothing.

    If you are wanting to see this film based upon being a fan of one of the featured actors, then you will be disappointed. Bill Murray and John Goodman in particular seem very underused and an overall missed opportunity. There is also very little humour, considering its concept and cast (I understand it’s set in Nazi Germany, but that’s no excuse).

    Save the cost of an expensive theater ticket and wait for the rental.

  • Don’t waste your time or money on this movie. Despite a stellar cast, “The Monuments Men” is a piece of cinematic dreck, unworthy of its cast and director. George Clooney’s directing and acting skills went AWOL in this poor excuse for a motion picture. It is a textbook study of how to make a fascinating story dull and boring. The directing, editing, bland acting, and dreadful script suck all interest out of the movie. The only way you know there is any tension or danger is the sound track – otherwise the actors and director fail to wring any emotion out of the high school quality script. Scenes just suddenly end… I wish I could be more positive about this movie, given the pedigree of its cast and director. But sadly, “The Monuments Men” is the poster child for a simply bad, unentertaining motion picture…

  • The Monuments Men 1.5/10- Everything about this movie makes you think that it will be a hit. It has got George Clooney as the director and star, Matt Damon as the other lead, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Cate Blanchett, I mean that cast alone screams this movie will be awesome. Plus, the source material that this movie is based off of is very interesting and definitely deserves to be told. What could go wrong? Everything. Everything went wrong. I do not know how all of these great factors leads to such a terrible movie. The Monuments Men is one of those movies that after twenty minutes of watching, you feel like you have been there for an hour.

    I will begin with the score. A score is the entire music made for a particular movie. In almost all of the movies I have seen, the music only enhances the viewing experience and adds something special to each individual scene. Then there are these handful of movies I have seen where the music makes each scene worse, the monuments men is unfortunately one of those few. During this movie, there will be this poorly written inspirational speech or emotional scene and someone during this the music will start playing.Even if this speech was the greatest movie speech ever written, the music made for the Monuments Men would have ruined it and would have made you hate speech. To be honest, I have never disliked any music for a particular movie more than this one.

    Now for the plot. The Monuments Men has a particular interesting plot at first because it cultivates a patriotic World War II theme whilst still maintaining an intellectual background with the artists and sculptors being on the front line. The Trailer makes it look very clear cut, they all go in together and find the art throughout Europe and bring it back to its rightful owners. Everyone that I know was excited for this film just because of the trailer, but sadly that’s the only good thing about this movie, the trailer.

    For full review and more,–the-monuments-men.html

  • If you combined elements from cinematic fare like MASH (1970), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and Ocean’s Eleven (2001), you’d get The Monuments Men. And despite these elements, this film as a whole, still manages to border on the edge of tedium. Shot capably and lushly by integrity-minded George Clooney, “Men” was supposed to have been released for Oscar season in December of 2013. So much for that. Its now February and here we have something that has such a calm, somber, almost mute feel to it. There are some nice images and some effective, individual moments. But in the big picture, it feels unfinished not to mention half-baked. It seems like scenes were left out. As a result, for almost two hours, a sense of intrigue or suspense is sorely lacking. Also, I couldn’t decide whether The Monuments Men was a comedy, a drama, or in fact even a war film (almost no combat at all).

    Clooney, looking like your typical matinee idol and resembling Clark Gable from Gone With the Wind, does double duty as star and director here. He spins a web about a true story depicting seven important people. It’s WWII and Clooney’s Lt. Frank Stokes decides to recruit these seven men consisting of museum curators, architects, and art historians. They are obviously too old to fight in a war yet they go through basic training, wear uniforms, carry firearms, and basically pose as soldiers trying to retrieve stolen art. This is art that could be lost in battle or even taken by the Nazis. Stokes gets the OK for this action by way of a letter from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. And from that moment on, the recapturing of sculptures, paintings, etc.., is seen as way more important than the gauge of human life. Speaking of human life, in “Men” there is very little character buildup and it’s hard to feel anything for anyone involved. In fact, a couple of members from the Monuments group actually die. No one even makes a fuss about it as evident from the choppy editing by Stephen Mirrione (he edited 2000’s Traffic).

    The cast or for a better word contributors, consist of an assortment of great actors. Matt Damon plays Lt. James Granger, Bill Murray plays Sgt. Richard Campbell, and John Goodman plays Sgt. Walter Garfield to name three. Clooney, riffing off his character Danny Ocean from Ocean’s Eleven mentioned earlier, uses everyone sparingly as a director. He gives them almost no room to breathe. By the time the closing credits come up, their images are plastered on screen (along with their names). This seemed kind of laughable as I sat in the theater because it felt like these guys were barely in the film to begin with. I mean Bill Murray was completely held back. Featured in “Men” as the chief architect, he doesn’t have anything or anyone to bounce off of. I’ve seen Murray underplay roles before but this was really hard to watch. It’s not his fault but along with the rest of the cast, he seemed to be slumming it. Heck, the whole film seemed to be slumming it.

    Overall, The Monuments Men is a vehicle in which not much happens. And it’s really not a whole lot of movie to begin with. Now I no doubt think of George Clooney as a fine director. With “Men” though, he doesn’t make an awful film, just a “monumentally” misguided one.

    Check out other reviews on my blog:

  • “If you destroy their history, you destroy their achievements and it’s as if they never existed.””

    “The Monuments men” is a terribly boring movie. Thank God there were people during the 2nd World War who were concerned about the cultural heritage and with a selfless commitment went to the battlefields of Nazi Germany to recover the looted artworks. It’s a story based on true events, but I still doubt if it was necessary to make a film about those events. In “The Guns of Navarone” they gathered ​​a commando to destroy those damn huge cannons. In “Saving Private Ryan” a group of soldiers got orders to look for a certain Ryan (of course) whose brothers been killed on the battlefield. In “The Monuments Men” some old aged connoisseurs of art, sacrifice themselves to find stolen artworks. They also could have called it “Saving a Private Collection”. But this one isn’t that heroic and exciting. You would expect this to be a masterpiece with such a cast and such an original story about the 2nd World War. Ultimately, it isn’t a movie of the same valuable level as those pieces of art they tried to save.

    George Clooney co-wrote this film, has directed it and also plays the lead role as Frank Stokes, an art expert at age who puts together a group of eight other art historians, architects and professors to go to distant Europe and find some lost art. It’s also a race against the clock since the Russians are also keen to get those artworks in their possession. For the Russians, it’s a kind of payment for the losses they suffered during the war, while “The Monuments Men” have the noble aim to deliver it back to the original owners. The other members of the group consists of the three American greybeards Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), Walter Garfield (John Goodman) and Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban), the Englishman Donald Jeffries ( Hugh Bonneville ) who apparently has to make up for something, the Frenchman in exile Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin) and James Granger (Matt Damon) and Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas).

    Again Clooney looks like the perfect son in law and behaves as usual as a charming Hollywood-star. I’m constantly amazed about the fact that no matter what Mr.Clooney does, his hair always looks immaculate and well groomed. It seemed as if there is still a renowned stylist on every corner in this recreated-to-rubble Germany who has the time to fix his hair again. For the rest, it seems like an “Ocean’s Eleven” in uniform. Even the conversations with Damon look like a duplicate of “Ocean’s Eleven” : such a jovial, toneless and dry informal conversation between two close friends. Same routine.

    Matt Damon plays again the smiling charmer who tries to help himself using his pitifully poor French (To be honest, I couldn’t understand anything he said) on his way to Paris, where he will meet a woman called Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett). Claire is the curator of the Jeu de Paume, a former art museum that became a depot of stolen art. She could possibly point out the locations where the Nazis have hidden their loot. However, she is an old-fashioned young woman who stubbornly refuses to help him, out of fear that it would disappear in the hands of the U.S. The fact that this frigid aunt suddenly felt her hormones working and encouraged Damon to clean up the produced cobwebs during the war, after she was so kind to ask if he was a “good husband”, I found a useless and meaningless filler which had nothing to do with the rest of the story.

    The most enjoyable performances were done by the comic trio of the whole gang: Murray, Goodman and Balaban. Although their efforts unfortunately couldn’t save the movie. Murray walked around again as if he could care less. The famous dry humor was briefly interrupted by one of the most moving moments: playing a vinyl record he received with a Christmas message of his daughter and grandchildren. An intimate moment between all the misery of war. Goodman was again the lame softy you expect anytime to emit a thunderous roar of laughter, but also has its sad moment when he and Clermont ends up in a crossfire between the two armed forces. Balaban is an irascible rascal who has one great desire when they arrive in Europe : the opportunity to kill somebody over there.

    Don’t expect action packed war scenes because the art rescuers follow the advancing forces during the whole movie and arrive in every historically known location after the Germans and allied forces have left. There are countless films about the horrors of the 2nd World War, but this story was still unknown to me. That made it more interesting to watch. The fact that there are two Belgian cities in the movie where valuable works of art were stolen , is also something that aroused my curiosity. The sometimes amusing dialogues and funny moments are interspersed with touching moments and a few moralizing and corny moments . But overall it was just a weak movie. In content it’s not really an epic story : a group of elderly men running back and forth through Germany looking for paintings and sculptures . That they made a 2 hour movie about that, is in itself an achievement .

    More reviews here :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *