I must not forget to trust the February dumping ground. Be warned, The Monuments Men is a film to be endured, not enjoyed. I remember about a year ago we all thought this was a surefire frontrunner at the Oscars to head American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street. While the other two secured nominations but probably not awards, I’m glad this one didn’t make the cut. Who could blame us? George Clooney was on top of the world having just one an Oscar and he’s got two more spots on his mantle to fill, maybe another for Screenplay. Unfortunately his writing talents just don’t cut the mustard. It’s a total mess. It can’t juggle its characters, but it doesn’t give them anything to play with. It spends its time trying to justify itself, repeating monologues about why art is important to mankind that we heard in the trailers and they kinda work. They’re the only engaging part of the movie really, saying why they did what did. It’s just that how they did what they did isn’t the least bit interesting. Once the characters are inexplicably on a dangerous path without much objection they face aimless inconsequential obstacles that don’t really develop character or display their resourcefulness.
Every moment just feels terribly contrived. Forced scenes of conflict resolution such as Bill Murray smoking with a man until he leaves or Jean Dujardin finding that a sniper is a child. It feels like such an afterthought. I feel bad for the great talent in the cast because they mostly just irritated me every time they opened their mouths. Cate Blanchett does make the most of her character which is good to see considering she had the one at biggest risk of being ridiculous. If the film isn’t dragging (I went to the bathroom when I didn’t even have to go and I never usually leave a screening unless it’s an emergency) then it’s pure sentimental saccharine out of nowhere just to try and pull a reaction from the audience. I hoped the film could get by on charm, but its mean-spirited sense of humor just left a sour taste in my mouth. Although the production design is commendable, given its theme of art, it’s disappointing to say that the cinematography is incredibly unimaginative. I hope one day Clooney can deliver something with the integrity of Good Night, and Good Luck. It’s not terribly incompetent, it’s just misguided and lifeless. At the end, the film asks “was it worth it?” Was The Monuments Men worth the price of admission? God no.