People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different. In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all. Read on!
First impression: George Clooney, 1940s war movie, impressive cast – sold. Second impression: film gets the bump from December to the doldrums of February, trailers are flat and boring – less sold.
The Monuments Men isn’t a great film by any means. George Clooney, self-proclaimed novice director, gathers together a loose script about an important subject and a whole bunch of talented actors and just sort of slams them together into a tonally deaf, but still pretty entertaining film. In WWII Hitler and his Nazi friends destroyed a lot of amazing art, and he would have destroyed a lot more if not for the work of the so-called Monuments Men, a group of American soldiers who’s only task was to find and protect the great art of Europe and beyond. This is the story Clooney is trying to tell, but instead he tells a semi-rollicking tale of a bunch of old guys who go to war to save some art. The film struggles narratively, never really heading towards any specific “ending-like” event and sort of meandering along between a few stories before sort of bringing the band back together and gluing on some significance to one particular piece of art. Still, weak script, totally lacking characters – I still found myself enjoying the majority of the film. Sure, none of the actors in the film (Bill Murray, John Goodman, and such) ever act as anything but the people they are, but who cares? It’s a bunch of great actors chewing the fat in the Second World War with a little bit of story and a whole lot of schmaltz. This is a mess of the film, but you know, sometimes a mess can still be pretty enjoyable.
George Clooney is a very okay director.