Monuments Men: REVIEW


Is art worth dying for? Certainly not ‘art’ this dull. 

Hey, ya hear? The Germans surrendered.”
No way, you’re kidding.”
And the characters go their own way. This is what constitutes as “moving the story forward” for main characters in George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, I guess.

The Monuments Men is based on the amazing true story of a small, passionate group of art lovers who became their own little military battalion to save great works of art as World War II ravaged Europe all around them. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, and more are all here, playing historians and art scholars tasked with saving “culture itself.” But it’s incredibly frustrating to watch such a monumental group of actors work together in a film where they’re given so little to do.

The Monuments Men has it’s moments for sure. But, quite frankly, it’s a big mess. It’s a big-budget old-school war movie that feels like it was put together last minute. The story’s flat, the characters are boring, and the film feels like a rough cut that still has a lot of work to be done in the editing room. There’s a compelling movie in there somewhere, but it just hasn’t been whittled into that yet.

It’s a drama-comedy that’s neither engaging nor funny. So much of the movie just doesn’t matter, and doesn’t move any sort of story forward. Matt Damon spends 1/3 of the movie hanging out with some farmer… Okay?  George Clooney gives what feels like 17 monologues… Yay?  The movie assembles a stellar cast, then disperses them throughout Europe so that they hardly share a scene all together… What’s the point? 

It’s almost as if the film knows we could care less about its characters, that it tries that much harder to convince us to still like it based off its unique message: art is worth fighting for, because it represents a culture and a way of life. But for us to buy into the idea of “art is worth dying for,” we have to actually care about the characters when it’s time for them to make that sacrifice. Monuments so un-subtly hits us over the head with this message so often, that it’s a miracle we’re still conscious by the film’s end.

+ I always enjoy the WWII genre
+ What a spectacular cast… 

… What a spectacular waste of that cast.
Even the actors look like they don’t care about the story
Incredibly heavy-handed
Takes itself way too seriously
Characters are shallow, uninteresting
Too many pointless scenes/lines of dialogue to count



The Monuments Men is a tremendous misfire from Director George Clooney, giving the audience no one and nothing to care about. It does a good job of showing why saving art is important, but after the nth time, we get the point. Monuments is pretentious, unfunny, and feels insincere. Despite it’s incredible cast and heartfelt ending, this dull “treasure hunt” is one of the most forgettable Hollywood films in recent memory.


The Monuments Men is rated PG-13 for “war violence and historical smoking.” There is a small amount of language, and we also see a few characters shot to death, and some bloody soldiers in a hospital. Not very offensive compared to most wartime films, though. 

© Matt Tory, 2014. 

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