SYNOPSIS: Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action drama focusing on seven over-the-hill, out-of-shape museum directors, artists, architects, curators, and art historians who went to the front lines of WWII to rescue the world’s artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. With the art hidden behind enemy lines, how could these guys hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements. From director George Clooney, the film stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett. The screenplay is by George Clooney & Grant Heslov, based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter. Produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney.
REVIEW: So the film has an excellent cast and a very interesting story. George Clooney stars, writes, and directs. It will remind you, even if just for an instant, of Stripes mixed with Oceans 11, mixed with Inglourious Basterds, mixed with National Treasure, mixed with Saving Private Ryan, and so on and so on. It is a good historical piece, well presented. It is based on true events so something like this actually happened. I always find that to be really cool to know that a movie I’m watching is giving me a depiction of actual events. For some reason it gives me a little extra boost of interest knowing that I’m watching history in an entertaining way. So with all this going for the film, you would think it was a sure thing, a box office smash, a must-see, right? So did I. The movie is good but not great and a movie with all these mentioned characteristics needs to be great. That is what people are going to expect and it falls a bit short. Additionally, the movie has some humor, it has some drama, it has death, and it celebrates life and human achievements, it has sacrifice and determination, and it has suspense. But even with all that too, the movie still seems to be missing something, a je ne sais quoi, that is keeping it from reaching “great” status. Unfortunately there are moments during the film that are slow to the point of boring. Can you believe it? How is that possible with all the ingredients that this film has. Just goes to show that having all the right ingredients doesn’t automatically make a superb product.
As is consistent with any other movie that has war as a backdrop, it is clear that war is hell. Even though this one is ever so slightly light-hearted, it still demonstrates that fact. Pretty much everyone in the cast has to deal with this and they all handle it well. In one scene they are meant to be light-hearted and moments later they are dealing with the drama of death and the seriousness of war. The performances by the cast as a whole were spot on, especially dealing with these abrupt transitions. The one that stood out the most to me was given by Cate Blanchett. Something that weakened the quality of the performances was the weakness in character development. It was difficult to get attached to the characters. This was caused mostly by the lack of development, but also in part due to the choppiness of the movie itself. The cinematography was pretty good though, taking us through all of Europe without skipping a beat. This is not George Clooney’s first rodeo as Director, but unfortunately it is not his best work. Again, it’s not a bad movie, it does have plenty of historical value and a lot of good ingredients, but all those movies that it reminds me of are better. Choose this one with caution.
By Cine Marcos
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