A hostage. That’s what I was when we were in the theatre watching this movie. Maybe I was a willing victim but a victim nonetheless. A powerhouse cast will definitely make you watch this, but be warned: not everything that presents itself as a story about art is art. Said to say I was one of those who fell for the cool poses of Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchet, Bill Murray, John Goodman and Hugh Bonneville in the movie poster. One thing positive I can say though is that it’s a straight-forward honest film in a way. But that’s the only thing positive you’ll see in this post. So I’ve made a list on how it has outstandingly earned my repugnance.

The Monuments Men Trailer

  1. The Plot was as flat as a Mother Goose rhyme.

You know when you watch films that you cast doubts at first but leave you at awe when plot twists and revelations jump out the screen in the end? Well, this isn’t one of those. The mediocre, seemingly shallow plot undergoes no redemption whatsoever up until the last minute. The film offers to show an action-drama but ends up beating Lav Diaz’ sluggish movie. At least Diaz’ works are considered art in some circles. Also, the uneven pacing is a little shy of interesting. In actuality, the development further drags the audience to mental bartolinas, if not outside the theatre house. We all know that good books, when adopted do not necessarily become good movies. But this one is just way overboard.
“Are we done yet?”

  1. Self-imposing, Self-important

Maybe because they assume that everyone watched Iwo Jima or Flags of our Fathers, or Black Hawk Down even, that’s why they don’t feel in any way obliged to explain what the heck is happening. The film has at many points attempted to persuade, if not force the audience to sympathize with the characters without warrant. It leaves none for the imagination and none to the intellect. To put salt in the wounds of mankind, it expects a lot from audience but gives so little. For one it wants to humanize the characters but ended up flat as Britney Spears in her first and last film.
“Let’s skip this part. People should know this already”

  1. Visually Bland

Two things– Bad transitions and no creativity whatsoever. In fact, films made in WWII era could give George Clooney  a run for his money. I mean, c’mon man, fade-in fade-out?!
“Actor goes to stage right, lights fading out…and curtain!”

  1. Bad Acting, Worse Script

You know you’re watching a crappy film when you look at your shoes twice inside the cinema. Well, my feet and I, we bonded. The overly melodramatic lines paralleled with strongly misleading development threw sympathy outside the window. And even Cate Blanchett’s signature teary eyes did not cover for every misdirected acting energy throughout the film. It’s like the editors had put the puzzle wrong.
“Hold on, the tears aren’t out yet!”

  1.  Historical Misrepresentation

To be fair, the movie actually took off from the book’s timeline. But it has left out some parts conveniently, too conveniently. It hails the US as the most potent politico-military entity of WW2 when in fact it was the Russians that really took the Nazi rampage along of course with the Jews. To be precise, it was the Soviet Union who singlehandedly defeated Germany in Stalingrad. Although, one thing it was right about is that US was busy finding a way to hijack the loot (hence, the whole “adventure” to track down artworks) and glory post-war while other nations go head to head with the atrocities. Maybe George Clooney and Hollywood should take cue from Ellen Page’s lead – to stop lying by omission.
“Wait, I don’t remember this part”
The movie, as bad as it may be, is very politically charged as it reflects the past and current international policies of the US. It also conveys the latter’s attitudes towards the nations involved in the film today. It’s continual pressure against Germany, constantly reminding it of the “horrors” of nationalism (and in effect, close-door protectionist policies). And lastly its open hostility (read: Cold War entrails) towards Soviet Union and its unspoken hatred against contemporary Russia.
In case you missed the point—you’ll be doing your sanity a favour by not watching this.   

Monuments Men Cast

George Clooney as Lt. Frank Stokes
Nick Clooney as the aged Stokes
Matt Damon as Lt. James Granger
Bill Murray as Sgt. Richard Campbell
John Goodman as Sgt. Walter Garfield
Jean Dujardin as Lt. Jean Claude Clermont
Bob Balaban as Pvt. Preston Savitz
Hugh Bonneville as Lt. Donald Jeffries
Cate Blanchett as Claire Simone
Sam Hazeldine as Colonel Langton
Dimitri Leonidas as Sam Epstein

Directed by: George Clooney


Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to “The Monuments Men” and/or to their respective owners. I do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.

Geoffrey Ledesma

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