The Monuments Men [2014] ★★½

TMM_TMM_REDGeorge Clooney’s fifth shot as a director (following “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”, “Good Night and Good Luck”, “Leatherheads” and “The Ides of March”) is a wacky World War II film based on a remarkable true story about a mission to save precious works of art during Hitler’s reign. Call it Ocean’s Eleven in helmets and uniforms. Clooney paints a vivid portrait of that era and does a fine job in the lead role, starring alongside Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett (with a French accent), John Goodman, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Jean Dujardin (what a cast!). Their mission? Head to the front lines, outsmart the German high command and steal back that art. Sounds like fun. And it is, as long as you survive the slow buildup. From then on, it’s crazy fun, especially with a dream cast like this one. I found the film very easy to admire, but a bit more difficult to love. It should be no shock though that it’s clever and well-made, considering the source material (a historical book by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter), the screenwriters (Clooney and Grant Heslov), and the brilliant score by the great Alexandre Desplat. Uneven storytelling aside, the all star cast makes all this unusual business too much fun to care.

Rating: 2.5/4

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