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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Movie Review - The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men (2014)
Starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban
Directed by George Clooney

Director George Clooney's The Monuments Men definitely feels like a throwback to the days when "Hogan's Heroes" was on tv.  That show went straight for the comedic aspects of WWII, but The Monuments Men attempts to mix comedy and drama and Clooney and his fellow screenwriter don't quite mesh the two together.  Unfortunately, this creates a film that never finds its footing, feeling slightly off balance all the way throughout with the comedic aspects never quite being funny enough and the dramatic aspects never quite mustering up the emotion they likely should.

Clooney's trademark charm is evident throughout the film -- and not just in his acting.  The film itself feels deeply rooted in 1960s cinema, a time when things were perhaps more innocent.  Yes, The Monuments Men is a war movie, but this is no Saving Private Ryan in terms of blood, guts, and action.  Instead, the film focuses on a band of merry older men with backgrounds in art who are brought together to retrieve important European sculptures, paintings, and other artistic media that Hitler's Nazi army took upon their take-overs of various countries.  These men -- played by Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban -- have no military experience yet are thrown head-first into some war-torn parts of Europe where the Nazi regime -- although now retreating as the war comes to an end -- has not quite abandoned.

Unfortunately, Clooney's desire to create a more lighthearted romp with the serious subject matter doesn't work in the film's favor.  While I understand the drive behind the film and Clooney's inclination to imbue comedy into this tragic war, the humor waters down the serious moments whenever they pop up.  Rather than feel an emotional connection to several tragic occurrences that happen in the film, the relationship the audience has with the characters isn't there in the way that it should be which is a big detriment in the film's serious moments.  Perhaps a more deft director could have righted the ship, but Clooney doesn't quite have the chops yet.  I certainly appreciate the charming vibe he brought to the piece, but The Monuments Men simply doesn't balance itself out on the scale between humor and seriousness and this off-kilter nature is its downfall.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

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