Posted February 11, 2014 by Nicolo Parungo in Movies/TV

“The Monument’s Men” is far from monumental (REVIEW)

monument postah

If there’s anything good that can be said about “The Monument’s Men” it’s that you can admire the story they are trying to tell. The mission to rescue all the art that Hitler and the Nazi’s stole is one worth telling, as it emphasizes how important art is to the modern world and its impact in all of history and culture.

Unfortunately that’s the only good that can be said about the film.

Oh sure the humour is funny at times, Matt Damon’s terrible French makes for plenty of laughs and veterans John Goodman, Bill Murray and Bob Balaban have good chemistry with each other. Cate Blanchett also does well here, and the production design is nice.

Going back to my previous statement however, while the story is definitely worth telling, the execution of how it was told is severely lacking.


While I’m sure the mission of the Monument’s Men was very important, it never feels that way here. The movie really fails to emphasize why this mission is worth partaking in, even when George Clooney is half-heartedly telling his men why the risks are worth taking via radio. Part of that could be Clooney’s poor performance here; whether his heart wasn’t into the movie or he had a difficult time directing and acting is up for debate, but he simply doesn’t do well, be it showing strong emotion or delivering supposedly powerful speeches, he falls flat.

Another cause for blame here is the shoddy character development; while I praised most of the cast earlier for their comedic abilities, none of them are well developed throughout the movie so we don’t get any personal insight as to why they would want to risk their lives for paintings and statues, the only explanation given here is that they are all artists here and they want to preserve the art here for future generations, which is again admirable, but the lack of any personal stakes here doesn’t do the story justice.

To make matters worse the mission doesn’t seem that difficult. Yes they lose two of their men, but other than that the goal to save the art is a cakewalk, which is ironic considering how the movie tries to paint our cast (ha!) as underdogs who no one believes will succeed, yet they don’t really seem to go through any obstacles thanks to the lack of a strong antagonist or any will shattering personal demons.

I suppose the goal of the movie was to be a somewhat light hearted, world war two movie, (which is an oxymoron of a sentence if I ever read one) and the numerous jokes seem to be in full support of this motion, which I would have begrudgingly accepted if it weren’t for the baffling scenes of drama presented here. Aside from the aforementioned deaths we get strange segments like Bill Murray’s grandkids singing Merry Christmas to him while a soldier dies from a gunshot wound or the discovery of barrels filled with teeth forcefully removed from Jews. These scenes should be sad, horrifying and maybe even powerful, but only come off as awkward silences given the amount of comedy presented before AND after.

The Monument’s Men” butchers a good story worthy of the Mona lisa, making this seemingly important mission in history have about as much complexity as a half assed finger painting.

Thank you to 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. for the premier invite!

Nicolo Parungo