Puring the second world war, a historian wishes to recover works stolen by the nazis, and hiring a team of old broken arms, but arts experts, to go into the field to retrieve “what’s ours” and “give it back to its owner (…) ’cause it’s IMPORTANT “… Yeah.
The Monuments Men was, for me, a film that missed out, well before its production starts, as from the time when the idea of making a movie from this story comes out of the head writers. What George Clooney is trying to tell us, this is the kind of stories that we pass down from generation to generation, on the heroism of the men, their courage, etc, Except that it is not the right medium : by definition, Film is an art that shows, then tells. However, the story of the Monuments Men is a story that should remain oral, take the scale each time it tells. Let place to the imagination and the mysteries of the not-said. The kind of story too improbable to be narrated by the picture, too misanthropic to be shown in a way that is empathetic. As how to involve the viewer in the combat of men who prefer the subject to be human, so prestigious is this object? This might be acceptable if George Clooney had been able to take a step back, realizing his film with several level of reading, or even just the second level. This is not the case.
The first pitfall of the Monuments Men, according to me, is that George Clooney fails to represent works of art as a full-fledged character. The staging, which should not be asked to match Terrence Malick or Steven Spielberg, had at least to be in harmony with its subject. Gold, George Clooney never gets to represent them (works of art), by the image or the dialogue. As a result, the lack of interest in cinema of the quest, unlike a Ring or a Ark of the Covenant for example.
In addition, the movie follows a course of predictability unsettling, which is based on an aesthetic cliché of the war film : historical reconstruction seems to be faithful but it has a side already seen, in addition to being under exploited : the majority of the scenes happening in the decorations inside rather empty, or simply dull, which is a shame given the magnitude and the precision of the locations – destroyed cities, camps, rally, etc., photo of the movie is sometimes too dark, sometimes kind, and hardly able to showcase actors, decorations, or anything…
the dialogues are sailing between speechs invigorating the interest of “the mission,” jokes of old, personal stories already heard and a moral overly patriotic. Only the delicate moments between Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett come out a little out of the ordinary.
The situations, in addition to being ridiculous, lack of originality. Their concatenation is done without rhythm, with no real binding narrative. Three ideas have, however, caught my attention, for about 8 minutes : the Monuments Men caught between two fires, the bursting of the team, multiplying the points of view of Europe devastated by the war, and a pseudo-investigation to follow the “art”, started by Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett. Voila.
“A film in which the actors are involved, at a minimum, and where the lack of artistic ambition illustrates a waste of talent and energy.”
The actors do not bring the energy that could cement materials are also poor : George and Matt we re-enact the nonchalance faded to the Ocean’s 11, Cate surjoue a character to the usefulness questionable, the rest of the cast (Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin…), untapped, reveal themselves to be just friendly, or he would have to be charismatic, to give presence to the protagonists, the credibility of the story.
Ditto for the famous Nazis, eternal and the wicked to the furrowed brow that, in addition, this time, destroy priceless works of art… Portrayed without nuance of any kind, without the presence either. Without doubt in order to avoid a disservice to the subject of the film, especially that it hardly finds a place, these characters never represent a threat. Even when the specter of the holocaust made its appearance, it is reduced to a artifact and a nazi officer in a concentration camp, to which George made a ridiculous lesson of good living and good citizenship.
Once again, the use of clichés predominates, it is the heroism that moved these men of the fellowship completely inadequate, this sentimentaliste without scope, and patriotism off-topic. It could be a film in the documentary accuracy, a fabulous portrait of personalities misanthropes but conscious of the importance of the bequest to the following generations, a vision that is neutral to the conflict centred on the perception of art as a reflection pattern, or as a political issue, or even ideological… That is, in the end, a paraphrase with no personality.
Screenwriters in Hollywood do so more and more to find great ideas and tap into the “True Stories” of no interest to the film, to give us a Monuments Men without any supplement of soul on the part of a George Clooney who has yet managed in the past to magnify a subject boring or prove his political commitment. A film in which the actors are involved, at a minimum, and or the lack of artistic ambition illustrates a waste of talent and energy. In short. A film made of wind and of opportunism.
• Achievement : George Clooney
• Screenplay : George Clooney, Grant Heslov
• Main actors : George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban
• Country of origin : USA, Germany
• Released : march 13, 2014
• Duration : 1h58mn
• Distributor : 20th Cenrury Fox France
• Synopsis : During the second world war, a historian wishes to recover works stolen by the nazis, and hiring a team of old broken arms, but arts experts, to go into the field to recover them.