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Monuments Men – Reviews round-up

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The Monuments Men - John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray
The Monuments Men - John Goodman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bob Balaban and Bill Murray ©2013 Columbia Pictures

In George Clooney’s Monuments Men we have seven over-the-hill, out-of-shape experts who went to the front lines of World War II to rescue the world’s artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves.

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history the film focuses on seven museum directors, artists, architects, curators, and art historians who went to the front lines to return the masterpieces to their rightful owners. With the art hidden behind enemy lines, how could these guys hope to succeed?

Here’s a taster of some of the reviews…

New York Times Monuments Men review

Written by Mr Clooney and his producing partner, Grant Heslov, The Monuments Men slices off a sliver of a great World War II story and turns it into a lightweight entertainment that doesn’t ask you to think too hard…

Mr Clooney doesn’t just simplify the characters; he also turns them into pleasantly innocuous caricatures that at times edge into cartoons…

Mr Clooney can’t figure out what kind of story this is, he too often slips into pandering mode, including in his own performance, which is filled with too many smiles and speeches.

Rating: StarStarStarNo Star RatingNo Star Rating from our reading of the review

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The Guardian (UK) All Is Lost review

This amiably ancient film is all too stiff – as if Clooney feared that any sudden noise or action would wake his performers up.

After an hour-and-a-half, we get a shot of actual Germans destroying actual loot, as Hitler’s Nero Decree is put into effect and Blanchett unlocks the secrets of a book in which are catalogued every item the Nazis snatched – Suddenly! Antagonists! A plot!


Rating: StarNo Star RatingNo Star RatingNo Star RatingNo Star Rating

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The Washington Post Monuments Men review

That’s a lot of moving parts to keep in balance, and The Monuments Men often lets the schematic gears show, succumbing to threadbare formula and sentimental cliches rather than taut, sophisticated drama.

Clooney finally works up a convincing degree of tension once Stokes and his men face multiplying hurdles in their race against the clock, the Nazis and the Soviets.

If The Monuments Men never overcomes its unwieldy structure and unevenness of tone, the film still manages to make a profound, even subtle point.

Rating: StarStarStar-halfNo Star RatingNo Star Rating

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Entertainment Weekly Monuments Men review

The Monuments Men sounds like a what’s-not-to-like? movie, but it turns out to be a bizarre failure. It’s not just that the film is dull — it’s that there’s no there there to like.

Next time, Clooney should make sure that the film he’s making is as good as the pitch.

Rating: StarStarNo Star RatingNo Star RatingNo Star Rating

Full Review