Some films don’t need to do much to convince you it’s worth seeing. Some films just need to roll out its cast and you’re hooked, regardless of story or type of film. Others, are smarter and know that cast and story, are equally important when luring the audience.
The Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox released film “The Monuments Men”, may have had the kind of cast you’d want, but couldn’t fully deliver on what was highly expected. It happens, even when you think it wouldn’t or be impossible.
This biographical drama stars George Clooney (“Gravity”, “The Ides of March”), Matt Damon (“Elysium”, “Behind the Candelabra”), Bill Murray (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “Hyde Park on Hudson”), John Goodman (“Transformers: Age of Extinction”, “Alpha House”), Jean Dujardin (“The Wolf of Wall Street”, “Little White Lies”), Bob Balaban (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “Girl Most Likely”), Hugh Bonneville (“W1A”, “Downton Abbey”), and Cate Blanchette (“How to Train Your Dragon 2”, “Hanna”).
The film is directed by Clooney (“The Ides of March”, “Good Night, and Good Luck.”) and written by Clooney (“The Ides of March”, “Good Night, and Good Luck.”) and Grant Heslov (“The Ides of March”, “Good Night, and Good Luck.”) and is based on the book of the same name by Robert M. Edsel.
With this film, sadly, there’s really only one thing that makes this film worth watching in any capacity. The story. The film may be based on a true story, captured in a book, but should’ve stayed there. The intentions were noble, don’t get me wrong, but not every ounce of history needs, or can, or should be made into a film. Now having seen it, the trailer or synopsis, was really all I needed as the final product couldn’t deliver what I thought I was getting.
While the acting wasn’t bad it didn’t do anything to expand the characters. Which might’ve been part of the problem. I get you can’t just rewrite history, because you want to keep a film as simple as possible, but at the same time, one has to keep in mind how that may translate on screen. Here the film seems to suffer from too many characters and sporadically jumping between the multiple groups doing God knows what. About halfway through the film, it dawned on me, I’m basically watching a treasure hunt. A long, dull, and boring treasure hunt. I never really knew what they were looking for. If a character was killed, I shrugged. That’s how much I didn’t or, more likely, couldn’t care about any of these characters. The only two I happened to enjoy watching together were Damon and Blanchette, although I’m not entirely sure why.
Something that really stood out, as abnormal, was the type of film it was aiming to be. So many scenes tried to be dramatic one minute and then switch over to a light hearted comedy with light hearted music to accompany it.
For instance, hen they’re trying to save Damon, after he stepped on a land mine, the scene didn’t play out how you’d expect. It tried to be funny. Not Laugh out loud funny, but comical. As if, somehow, this film had been overly serious and now needed to be rescued with a little light humor. All it did was help make this film all the more confused as to what it wanted to be. A comedy or drama. It wasn’t really either, and it tried too hard to be both.
While the film was entertaining and a little charming, it was by far the best thing I’ve ever seen, from any of those actors. I can, however, appreciate what everyone wanted to do, but feel bad because I was really excited to see this. Not every film can absolute winner. Even now, I’m still figuring this out.