Film review: The Monuments Men

The Monument Men

The Monument Men

Director: George Clooney | Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray
Minutes: 119 | Cert: 12A | Rating: 2 stars

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action drama focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon ordered into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. The Monuments Men has been a labour of love for George Clooney and in theory, it sounds like a terrific, all-star adventure yarn as a new-look Dirty Dozen style group of misfits race to save some of the greatest art treasures in the world. In reality, the result is a well-crafted film which doggedly refuses to spark into its promised glorious life. Clooney is Frank Stokes, an art historian who devises the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives programme so when allied bombers mistakenly destroy a 5th century abbey at Monte Cassino in the spring of 1944, Stokes steps in to become a champion of important art works threatened with destruction. His solution is to establish a corps of experts but instead he ends up with a ragtag team of misfits and eccentrics including art restorer James Granger (Matt Damon), architect Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), British museum curator Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) and French painter Jean-Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin). The story of how they all become fearless warriors willing to risk life and limb on the front lines of battle has its moments of humour and pathos but unfortunately it also creaks and groans in too many sections.