The Monuments Men
Direction: George Clooney
Actors: George Clooney, Matt Damon
Way back in 1965, John Frankenheimer directed a World War II drama called The Train in which Burt Lancaster and a group of French resistance fighters try to prevent the Nazis from transporting stolen art treasurers to Germany. Now almost 50 years later, George Clooney has co-written, helmed and leads an all-star-cast on a similar mission to save priceless masterpieces — paintings, sculptures and religious artefacts — from Hitler’s gang.
But where Frankenheimer’s movie was an edge-of-the-seat thriller, Clooney’s fifth directional venture lacks suspense, intrigue or even entertainment value.
A large part of the blame can be attributed to the script (based on a 2009 non-fiction bestseller) which can’t seem to decide if it wants to deliver a combat romp, a history lesson or a heist caper.
Clichéd buddy-buddy comic relief is sought to be provided by a couple of interludes involving a tooth extraction and the defusing of a landmine. In another specious scene, the soundtrack blares “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ while grievously wounded soldiers are being treated at a medical tent.
The Monuments Men is a blot on Clooney’s directing resume. You’d be better off watching The Train instead.