The Monuments Men  (2014)    31/100

Rating :   31/100                                                                     118 Min        12A

George Clooney not only directed this, but also co-write the screenplay with Grant Heslov not long after the pair of them co-produced ‘Argo’, and frankly listening to Clooney’s character here talking about the importance of history after he and his buddy completely raped a well documented event in their last collaborative effort, is a sick joke. No doubt they were hoping to replicate their charm offensive that somehow seen Argo take home the best film Oscar, but happily this film, even without the various cries of historical inaccuracy and complaints that the lives of people who actually died as part of the team (the monuments, fine arts and archives {MFAA} unit) have been ignored, is complete rubbish in almost every respect.

The unit’s task was to enter war torn mainland Europe just after D-Day and try to ensure wherever possible the safety or repossession of the most valued works of art and monuments that may otherwise be in harms way from bombing campaigns and the retreating German army as well as Hitler’s known fondness for nicking national and private treasures. It should be a fascinating and exciting tale, and indeed its only success is the relation of some events which were not really common knowledge and highlight the importance of these men’s work, and yet – can we believe these events? Sadly, because Clooney is involved no we can’t, not without embarking on a truth finding exercise of our own.

From a screenwriting point of view there is no real film here – it’s just a series of disjointed scenes stuck together with absolutely no characterisation, horrible, horrible jokes and no real concept of what they were trying to achieve. It amounts to little more than ‘let’s get lots of big name actors (Clooney, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett) and send them off on a jaunt through the Second World War, and then we’ll stick in some bits of drama and emotion and then people will love it and we’ll get another Oscar like last time’, and it is simply terrible. Rather than wasting any time on this, better to get hold of a copy of ‘The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History’ by Robert Edsel, the book upon which the film is loosely based.

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