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Mixed or average reviews - based on 43 Critics What's this?

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5.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 161 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , , , , ,
  • Summary: Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR to go into Germany, rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys—seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1—possibly hope to succeed? Expand
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Biography, Drama, History, Thriller, Comedy, War
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 118 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 43
  2. Negative: 1 out of 43
  1. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Feb 5, 2014
    88
    This is their story. It is true. It is history. As a film, it is riveting, suspenseful, harrowing and exciting, and somehow, it also manages to be something rare among war pictures—a big-scale entertainment.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 31, 2014
    75
    Who knew? The work of the Monuments Men is fresh territory for film, and Clooney builds the story with intriguing detail and scope.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Feb 8, 2014
    63
    Certainly, the story told by The Monuments Men is worth telling and it's easy to see why a luminary like Clooney would be sufficiently attracted to want to direct it. Unfortunately, this treatment, written by Clooney and long-time collaborator Grant Heslov, isn't the best fit.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 29, 2014
    50
    Something less than monumental, The Monuments Men wears its noble purpose on its sleeve when either greater grit or more irreverence could have put the same tale across to modern audiences with more punch and no loss of import.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 7, 2014
    50
    Alas, it's a throwback that's thrown its back out - limping along, trailed by battalions of stereotypes and ammo rounds of cliche.
  6. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Feb 6, 2014
    50
    In The Monuments Men, director George Clooney takes a wild, stranger-than-fiction true story and turns it into a dull, prestigious slog.
  7. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Jan 29, 2014
    30
    Clooney has transformed a fascinating true-life tale into an exceedingly dull and dreary caper pic cum art-appreciation seminar — a museum-piece movie about museum people.

See all 43 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 68
  2. Negative: 14 out of 68
  1. Feb 14, 2014
    10
    Better than what I expected. I walked in expecting to drag through some twilight knockoff, but walked out wanting to see the sequel. I've never read the books, and had no idea what would happen, but it had a good story line, and leaves you wanting more Expand
  2. Feb 8, 2014
    8
    I thought this was very well executed World War II genre adventure, and up to the standards of The Great Escape, Guns of Navarone, and The Dirty Dozen, all-star entertainments that don't pretend to convey any great moral lesson [other than Nazis are Evil and yay we beat them] a notable exception being Bridge on the River Kwai, which was about the high price honor can exact. I found what I thought were deliberate tips of the hat by Clooney: the main title is in a 60s modern design, the music is that jaunty war-movie type like the kind that predominates in Dozen, and one of the team, the Brit, is played by Hugh Bonneville, who bares an uncanny resemblance to Jack Hawkins in Kwai.

    No reviewer I have read has cited what I consider to be one of the movie's greatest strengths: its concision, and I don't just mean its 118 min running time in an age when movies now seem to start at 140 minutes and go up from there. I wasn't using a stop watch, but afterward I had the strong sense that no single sequence ran longer than six minutes, no speech longer than 3. It would very easy to drag out scenes on the grounds of suspense: one early dramatic moment plays like the opening of Inglourious Basterds in reverse: will the retired Nazi be caught in his own cottage? Director/writer Clooney could have shown the serving of an entire meal, while our Nazi continues to sweat; instead, the question is answered in less than 3 minutes [and note the sly references to Basterds in which a Monuments Man asks if the Nazi's wife speaks English].

    I always make the same point about genre pictures: of course they are predictable, of course they have to hit a certain number of beats. The question is, how will they do so? To say that Clooney did so "tastefully" is to damn with faint praise; the French despised the Nazi's? Show two women spitting into a a Nazi officer's champagne glass. The art is in danger of being burned? 30 seconds of the biggest blowtorches on film. I will leave out the references to Jews: their very "tastefulness" means they draw you in before you have a chance to marshal your defenses and nowhere to which you can recoil afterward.

    Just as there are a million ways to play The Wrong Man accused [from Hitchcock to 12 Angry Men, or, in reverse, The Verdict] or every single romantic comedy [would you really complain that you were two steps ahead of the screenwriters when you figured out the unlikely couple would get together in the end? ] this picture is as notable for both its genre strengths as to the its plainspoken, no nonsense approach to what is still, and one can only hope pray, remains the single darkest chapter of human history. What, have we told that one too often yet?
    Expand
  3. Feb 23, 2014
    7
    A group of men who are tasked with recovering stolen art during WWII? A movie with that premise can only be so engaging. However, in The Monuments Men, George Clooney hits mostly high notes in his retelling of a surprisingly exciting and unconventional WWII mission. He combines a simple, straightforward narrative with a distinctly old-timey milieu to weave together an upbeat and wholly enjoyable experience, akin to a nattily arranged appetizer – barely scrapes the surface of content and value, but delivers its however vapid screenplay with a trademark George Clooney smirk.
    The screenplay is a double-edged sword in The Monuments Men. While it smartly and earnestly approaches a textbook-style recounting of a did-you-know factoid from WWII, it’s sometimes just as boring to watch as the premise suggests. The morsels of action are small, fleeting, and somewhat dispensable, but they succeed in providing sufficient depth to the development of the characters (when Damon’s character accidentally steps on a land mine, the ensuing five minutes offer valuable highlights about the personalities of the “monuments men”). The sprinkled humor rarely fails, but never really makes enough of a statement to be memorable, either. Thankfully, a coating of nostalgic cinema charm and a definitive direction save this somewhat imbalanced screenplay.
    The Monuments Men’s silver lining is its characters; they are all likable and good-humored. At first, Clooney makes a safe attempt when it comes to character development, but he is too timid to delve deep until the second half of the film. The brotherly chemistry between Bill Murray and Bob Balaban is sincere and witty. Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett also play off each other pleasantly. And Hugh Bonneville constructs a passionate and memorable character that is sure to steal your heart. However, George Clooney’s character comes across as aloof and self-entitled throwing an awkward wrench in the brotherhood he attempts to establish between these “monuments men.” We all know Clooney is a better actor than director. But in this film, his character feels more like a flat, cardboard George Clooney life-size cutout than anything.
    Is The Monuments Men a bad film? Not at all. It’s highly improbable that you’ll hear its name anytime at the Grammy’s, but its welcoming atmosphere and intelligent appreciation of the real-life events as well as the value of classic art will make for a pleasant Sunday at the theatres. It maintains a lighthearted mood all throughout. You’ll come away feeling like something important really did happen, but you’ll be at a safe enough distance to not have to worry yourself over it, kind of like reading a dramatic, amateurishly written biography.
    Expand
  4. May 29, 2014
    5
    The cast is the highlight of this film. The movie is disjointed with terrible pacing that seems to take away from the experience of watching it. There is little explanation of the jumps in time and distance and this leaves the viewer lost at times. There were unnecessary elements in the movie that did nothing other than take up time that could have been used to more fully flesh out an excellent story. This is a story that is deserving of more than this attempt. Expand
  5. Mar 25, 2014
    5
    It has nice aspiration and strong cast, but the script just isn't up to par. A bit resembling Ocean franchise, George Clooney assembles a squad of intelligent men, not to steal valuable goods, but to preserve artworks from being destroyed at World War II. Contrary to usual war theme movie, The Monuments Men takes a lighter, more humorous view of the brotherhood and their cause. It works moderately in its own way with the interesting concept, although uneven pace, shallow screenplay and feeble dialogue confine the movie in mediocrity.

    The story takes place in dusk of World War II, just as German was about to be defeated by Allied forces. Since the Nazi has confiscated a large amount of art from its occupation time, not to mention the war's toll on many other unprotected objects, Franks Stoke (George Clooney) inspires to save as many historic legacies as he can. The unit he established consists of museum curators, architects and historians, a very unorthodox squad by any means. In the casualty heavy struggle, their cause may seem trivial, and the movie tries to present this angle even though it may not rise in its fullest.

    Cast is composed of famous line up, such as Matt Damon, Jean Dujardin, Cate Blanchett and more. Each contributes in their own way as one only has a couple of fervid scenes. Cate Blanchett delivers the most somber role of the somewhat light-hearted movie, she displays a cynical unyielding will and probably would fit in more intense direction. Bill Murray and John Goodman as veterans give a comedic side as they're aware they might not be soldier material, but they offer vivid reaction when faced with mortality. Jean Dujardin in the few scenes he's in manages to be suave and persistently spirited.

    The most unfortunate thing is the screenplay doesn't allow the talented cast to reach their best potential. Dialogues sound tedious, stiff and frankly inauthentic. Pacing is monotonous, the unit splits into different teams and it's meant as an effort across the war torn Europe, but it never manages to create an intertwined flow. The pace feels fragmented as there's barely any consistency to string everything together. Its dramatic moments mostly seem dull and humor is unsuccessful at times.

    There are some good scenes here, although they are brief and numbered in only a few stretched across the two hours movie. Ironically, the above average length can't form a compellingly structured plot because the content is sparsely divided the many characters. More than half of the movie is spent on comedy, sadly the jokes are stale, and they don't amount to much laughter or enjoyment. Aside from these short-lived moments of fascination, the movie is mundane.

    The Monuments Men is based on cultural achievement, a good intention by George Clooney and it's presented in easily accessible fashion. However, the pace, direction and screenplay are subpar, making the movie muddled and far less inspiring than it could have been.
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  6. May 31, 2014
    4
    It is a bummer when 20th Century Fox rescheduled Clooney’s fifth director endeavour THE MONUMENTS MEN into a lukewarm February release, bodes ill for its craftsmanship which may not up to Oscar’s calibre. But gauging from its stellar cast, a more probable upshot could be a fun-loving teamwork like OCEAN 11-13 fanfare, yet, it does’t even achieve this lesser goal.
    continue to read rest of the review on my blog, google cinema omnivore.
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  7. May 8, 2014
    0
    What should have been a serious drama ends up being a pathetically unfunny comedy that fails to even keep you slightly interested in it. Do not bother with this trash. Expand

See all 68 User Reviews

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