At the Movies - The Monuments Men - Review

'The Monuments Men', from left to right, John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray.
'The Monuments Men', from left to right, John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray.

You know when you let the man from the electricity board into your house to check the meter?

That’s more engaging and exciting than George Clooney’s awfully disappointing ‘The Monuments Men’.

I’ve long been a fan of Clooney the actor but Clooney the director is a different kettle of fish altogether.

‘The Ides of March’, ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ and ‘Leather Heads’ are all solid films but are they great movies? I don’t think so.

Not only can the same be said about ‘The Monuments Men’ but it’s fair to suggest that it’s Clooney’s most lacklustre and boring film to date.

What gets me so frustrated about ‘The Monuments Men’ is that the story coupled with such an esteemed cast should have blown audiences away. It didn’t. Instead, it almost put audiences to sleep.

Instead of a rip-roaring World War Two swashbuckling adventure fest we get a movie that would send someone who has just pinned a dozen double espressos off to the land of nod.

Clooney’s film is set towards the end of the war and his character Lt. Frank Stokes gets the green light from then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to put together a unit of art experts, architects and museum directors who after undergoing basic military training are sent behind enemy lines to recover stolen art snatched by the Nazis.

‘The Monuments Men’ is loosely based on a true story and it’s an amazing story at that so it’s hard to comprehend how Clooney managed to get the film tone so awfully wrong.

It sometimes feel like a big budget version of ‘Dad’s Army’ only this time, with a New York accent.

At the start of the film, Stokes begins to piece together the men he wants to be in the unit. The montage of introductions to all of these different characters plays out a bit like ‘Ocean’s 11’ (which coincidentally stars George Clooney).

‘Ocean’s 11’ was slick and cool but ‘The Monuments Men’ is dusty and wearisome.

Some of the casting left a lot to be desired also.

It’s as if when searching out actors to play a French and English man, casting director Jina Jay, put the same amount of effort into the task at hand as you’d expect a six month child would put into reading James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses.

Instead of getting two actors who are right for the respective roles we get Hugh Bonneville (‘Downton Abbey’) and Jean Dujardin (‘The Artist’ and ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’). That’s not to say that Bonneville and Dujardin can’t act, I’m saying that the roles should have gone to actors who fitted the character, not actors who are simply well known in America.

Cate Blanchett co-stars as a French museum curator who, after much convincing, provides Matt Damon’s character with a ledger detailing the locations of all of the stolen art.

There’s a move towards a bit of romance between Blanchett’s and Damon’s characters and for why I will never be able to understand. It was totally unnecessary.

Another thing that stinks about this film is the music. Alexandre Desplat’s score sounds like what you’d get if you mixed the music from ‘The Italian Job’ with ‘Kelly’s Heroes’.

If it’s sleep you’re after, then go see this film but if not, just get an early night.

‘The Monuments Men’ is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl. For full listings visit www,

VERDICT: 2/5 - George Clooney is without question a talented actor and director but in this instance he has dropped the ball.

‘The Monuments Men’ should be exciting and explosive but instead it’s boring and dusty.

Some of the film’s casting, namely Hugh Bonneville and Jean Dujardin left a lot to be desired; the film’s score is one of the worst I’ve ever heard in a long time. I’m a big fan of Clooney but this time it ain’t so gorgeous George.