Maybe 2 1/2 out of 5 stars. If Frankenheimer's The Train had an emotional son prone to crying & excessive sentimentality, Monuments Men would be that son. Throw in a dash of Ocean's Eleven and a decent cast and its salvageable. Mostly it just bums me out how Clooney's directorial career started off with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and has gradually been going to hell.
Revisionist history disguised as event movie and an epic failure on all fronts. Where is the Cloony who made 'Good Night..." and 'Confessions..."? As a filmmaker he seems to be digressing with his work becoming more and more amiable fodder. Cast basically play stereotypes and other than a fine scene with Murray listening to a recorded work from his family back home this one is a flop. Disappointing and insulting.
George Clooney pays homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood in this jaunty WWII caper chronicling the true story of a group of art collectors and curators who are sent to Europe to protect and rescue works of art stolen by Hitler's army. At times lighter than the subject seemingly demands, but this group of stars brings a sense of old Hollywood glamour that is instantly beguiling and effortlessly entertaining.
Bizarrely, I can't quite put my finger on why it's so mediocre. The ideia, the intention is great, and Clooney really tried hard but the tone... just feels wrong. Too lighthearted to be a war drama, too goofy to take seriously, but it TRIES to be serious. The child shooter scene, the soldiers in the bush, and especially the mine scenes are so silly. The plot structure is messy. Good (but wasted) cast and premise.
Never sure whether to approach it's subject matter with frivolity or solemnity, Clooney's retelling suffers major tonal indecision. As a piece of team gathering entertainment it works well enough, feeling suitably old-fashioned, but more should have been made of art, both metaphorically and literally, imitating life in Clooney's approach to film-making.
The cast give it their all and it's heart is in the right place but this story is told with an unfocused & un-energetic hand. You smile when they're recruited but as they split up & come together frustration starts to creep in. It's solid, entertaining, and old-fashioned but it misses the mark to become a classic in an age of digital and the at-risk nature of it's storage.