George Clooney stars in and directs an all-star cast that includes Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett in 'The Monuments Men,' which is set during World War II and based on a true story. NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.
George Clooney stars in and directs a new film called "The Monuments Men," which is loosely based on a true story and features an all-star cast.
Clooney plays an art historian, now a U.S. military officer during WWII. He convinces a bunch of older, out-of-shape art experts, to join the cause, go behind Nazi enemy lines and save some of the world's most priceless treasures.
Among the middle-aged recruits is Bill Murray, who plays an architect, John Goodman as a sculptor, Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville as a British Museum head, and Matt Damon as an art restorer. Rounding out the cast are Jean Dujardin and Bob Balaban.
With all the great talent involved and a story that, on paper at least, sounds exciting, you would figure "The Monuments Men" would be a crowd-pleasing film. Sadly, it's not.
Clooney tries directing in a style reminiscent of an old '40s WWII film, but he fails to pull it off and doesn't generate much interest in this tale.
Another big problem is that we really don't care about the main characters, since they all don't have much of a back story.
Making matters worse, there's a corny, retro score, which obtrusively bleeds into almost every scene.
Clooney's character often launches into long preachy sermons about how art is the basis of civilization. It's a good sentiment, but Clooney's bang-you-over-the-head approach is anything but subtle.
A few cutsey comic relief scenes are also misplaced.
The actors' talents, for the most part, are wasted. But I did really like two scenes, one involving Cate Blanchett as a Parisian with trust issues.
Other than that, although the film is about hidden masterpieces, overall, this is a missed opportunity and no work of art on any level.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: 1 1/2 apples