When glorious work and an imposing array of not only talented but proven stars are sacriﬁced at the alter of a dull narrative, ﬁlms like Monuments Men are born.
A frustratingly ﬂat reverence of war time tales, Monuments Men is an action drama that oscillates at will between comedy and serious didacticism.
A Unit of 8 commanded by a good looking Frank Stokes [George Clooney] has seven men working for him.
The group comprises Museum directors, architects, art historians and Curators – all more
adept at deciphering art work than skilled at operating weapons.
They are tasked to retrieve precious art work—a veritable toast to years of culture—from Nazi
vengeance. Once the group assembles in Europe, it must split into smaller teams and go treasure hunting.
They are to reunite later as they gather sufﬁcient leads. It is a daunting task to be carried out against the backdrop of the Fall of the Reich and the resultant orders for the German army to destroy anything and everything.
But “monumental men” are heroes and they must strive to save the cultural treasure trove that lies submerged in enemy terrain, even at the cost of sacriﬁcing precious lives.
In Monuments Men people do get the kiss of death but in ways other than in the thick of battle.
The war ravages look real but the movie fails to grip the viewer against the backdrop of many ﬂat if not inane radio broadcasts and speeches of the aging commander, though slightly relieved with the Matt Damon-Cate Blanchett pair.
A ﬁlm purporting to save precious work of ‘art’ fails itself to rise and become itself an endearing work of ‘art’!
On the whole Monuments Men is so ﬂat that perhaps Herr Hitler would shed a tear or two to see the ﬁzz taken out of this kind of ﬁlm genre.
Rating: 2 stars
By Joseph R
Monuments Men is now playing in Australian Cinemas.