Original Theatrical Release Date: February 7, 2014
Director: George Clooney
Frank Stokes (George Clooney) is tasked by FDR to assemble a team of art experts – The Monuments Men – to retrieve stolen artwork from the Nazis during World War II and return the masterpieces to their respective owners. Once behind enemy lines, Stokes and his crew come to realize what they are truly fighting for – the history and culture of all mankind.
To be honest, I’d never even heard of this film. My girlfriend and I decided to rent it on a whim while we were browsing the RedBox outside our local convenience store. We were sort of on a Bill Murray kick (he plays Richard Campbell in The Monuments Men) and that was what prompted us to try it out.
First off, this is based on a true story. I’m not exactly sure how faithful the movie was in terms of historical accuracy but judging by the photos of the real operation they show during the end credits, it seems to be pretty legit.
The cast choices were all pretty solid – George Clooney, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bob Balaban – can’t really go wrong with any of those people. Clooney is the only one who just seems to constantly play the same character in different movies and this one is no exception.
Though the story was interesting enough from a historical point of view, the excitement didn’t really build a lot in movie form, meaning that while I enjoyed very much learning about this facet of World War II that I had never heard of, I think I would be more interested in reading about it and getting every single detail, historically accurate, than watching this film. There was no real drive that I could feel within the narrative. The film is mostly propelled by the star power of the actors, which can sometimes be okay – but not here. The characters were never really fleshed out. Not even the main character, played by Clooney himself. We get the idea that it’s a bunch of dudes who aren’t really meant to succeed as soldiers and that they risked a lot by going out into a warzone, but there is no real urgency.
As it is, the film is a sort of impressionistic account of a very intriguing story that could have been fleshed out into something even more amazing. Don’t expect to be blown away by this one, people.
JOE Rating: ★★★
Movie Trailer For The Monuments Men