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3.9 out of 5 stars792
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 February 2015
The Monuments Men is a very good film which is based on true events, with a team of men who are sent to France to save the arts. From paintings to statues, which the germens stole and still steeling, during world war 2 a lot of people might think what's more important life or a painting but this film shows how much these men love there history when it comes to the greatest artists the world have ever seen.

Hitler had a plan he was going to build a huge museum in Germany so his plan was to steel as much as he can, but with the war coming to a end the germens are beginning to destroy as much as they can and hide all they can. There was a big number of priests who lost there lives trying to protect them, just shows how brave they were. This is a great film with a wonderful cast.
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This is an extremely interesting film. It's excellent in some places; outright odd in others. It's not an action-adventure, nor a comedy, nor an historical drama, nor a revisionist post-modern cynical reinterpretation. It's more like the kind of film made 50 years ago: it's an old-fashioned, heart-on-its-sleeve 'innocent' film, one which applauds the efforts of honest men trying to do their best in difficult circumstances.

At times, The Monuments Men feels a little simplistic -- Germans bad: Americans good -- and it can be sentimental to the point of mawkishness (the Christmas shower scene is a bit over the top for most audiences). The performances are rather muted, also, as if the excellent ensemble cast are deliberately keeping their Hollywood star wattage on a dim setting, in order not to overpower the film's moral message. There has obviously been a deliberate intent to avoid glamorising the inevitable violence of war, so when fatal incidents occur they are delivered with the same flat presentation as the rest of the film and are depicted in matter-of-fact fashion as everyday idiotic happenstance. In this respect, MM is both unusual and laudable. Similarly, the scene where an SS officer who has been pillaging art is found out and arrested is underplayed with a delightfully light hand.
It struggles a bit with one unnecessary scene where Clooney's character confronts a camp commandant and delivers a strange speech about how the Nazi's accomplishments will come to naught when America goes back to normal life -- this just didn't seem to fit the narrative or serve any real purpose.
The true quest, to find and save thousands of paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and other works of art before they could be sold, stolen or destroyed is extremely powerful, however. I very much got the impression that the cast were trying to let that theme carry the film, rather than have it turn into 'Oceans 11 Do WW2'. If you saw the trailers then you've already seen most of the jokes: even one which didn't get included in the theatrical release (possibly to steer the tone of the movie away from too much comedy? Who knows).

The result is patchy and a little ponderous in places. But it is interesting and entertaining, and probably valuable in its own way. if you know a lot about WW2 already then you'll cringe at some of the historical liberties. But if not, this film reveals one of the many untold stories of the European war in an entirely enjoyable fashion.
One thing, however. What did the film-makers have against bicycles? Every time you see a bike in this picture it's being thrown to the ground or dropped in mid-pedal. I do hope 'no bicycles were harmed in the making of this movie...' :-)

7/10
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 February 2014
"If you destroy an entire generation of people's culture - it's as if they never existed."

The war is going badly for Germany. If it was being lost then Hitler's "Nero Decree", or scorched earth policy, was to come into effect. Everything of value was to be destroyed or torched by the Nazis. The ultimate in pure spite.

A team of middle-aged men was formed to try and locate and rescue the art treasures. Art treasures that were looted by the Nazis. This undercover unit of artists was Art's answer to Dad's Army. This unlikely bunch, most of whom were not exactly in the first flush of youth, were then propelled into the war zone. They were the so-called "Monuments Men" of the movie's title.

Interestingly, it was the Monuments Men who found the famous fake Vermeer in Goering's stash. The fake was done by Dutch forger Hans van Meegeren. ( An excellent account of van Meegeren's life and works can be found in "I Was Vermeer: The Forger Who Swindled the Nazis" by Frank Wynne).

The film stars and is directed by George Clooney. Matt Damon stood in for Daniel Craig (Who had scheduling problems). Bill Murray is perfectly cast as the architect from Chicago. John Goodman and Cate Blanchett also star, the latter giving a particularly good performance.

This film shouldn't be compared with Ocean's Eleven and all that. It's a slightly different type of film we have here. One that acknowledges the historical reality involved. Even so, Clooney tries to put a kind of jaunty "Great Escape" spin on some of the film - as well as a touch of Alan Alda's MASH.

Despite all the acting talent, the film never quite clicks into high gear. You feel as if something is missing. Nevertheless I would recommend this film. The story should be told and not forgotten. And it's a reminder, lest we ever forget, of the Insanity of War.
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on 15 February 2014
We went to this movie with high hopes because, well, what movie wouldn't be awesome that has John Goodman and Bill Murray in it. I mean really. Unfortunately, Laura and I came away from this one rather disappointed.

The premise of this one can be summed up pretty simply. World War II is winding down; the Germans know they're losing so they set out to destroy as much of the world's great art as they can before they go. Only one thing stands in their way: motley bunch of aging artists. Dramatics ensue from there.

On the positive side, the film does a great job of portraying the importance of the period of history we're talking about. A thousand years of human art and culture really is on the line. Other reviewers complain about the protagonist's pontifications but this is the whole point of the film. The Nazi's weren't just out to destroy the Jews or rule the world. If they were going down they wanted to take as much of the world with them as they could no matter the price. This story is the ultimate example of "play by my rules or I'll take my ball and go home." So all those prolonged speeches aren't in the way of the real action of this war movie, they are in fact its only reason for being.

To the negative, as a connected narrative this movie was just hacked to bits. It could have made a meticulous and moving 6-hour mini-series but cut down to movie size the whole thing is a disconnected mess. There are, at various points, three distinct story lines but the relationships between them are unclear then suddenly they're all slammed together in a barely sensical manner. Further, the movie suffers from Hollywood over-drama just for the sake of drama. It's almost as if they tried to make an action flick out of a story that wasn't one.

In summary, sadly disappointed. Those looking for a movie about a war... won't really get one. Those looking for a moving portrayal of an important historical event won't get what they want either. The whole thing is at times sentimental but never really manages that either. It's almost as if the movie tried to be 10 things at once and never really accomplished any of them with any deftness. Quite a shame, really.
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THE MOVIE IS A WHOLE LOT BETTER THAN MANY CRITIC'S WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE.
The movie is based on a true WWII chain of events.
During their conquest of much of Europe the Germans have stolen countless great works
of Art for their own gratification.
'Frank Stokes' (George Clooney) assembles a small team of unlikely heroes (who are in
truth ill-equipped for what they will face) to try and recover the priceless works before
being destroyed and lost forever as the allied advance was underway.
The group of art-experts would be known as 'The Monument Men'
The Team led by 'Frank Stokes' 'James Granger' (Matt Damon) 'Richard Campbell' (Bill
Murray) 'Walter Garfield' (John Goodman) 'Jean Claude Clermont' (Jean Dujardin)
'Donald Jeffries' (Hugh Bonneville) 'Preston Savitz' (Bob Balaban) and 'Sam Epstein'
(Dimitri Leonidas)
After the Germans had hurriedly left 'Paris' 'James Granger' believes that 'Claire Simone'
(Cate Blanchett) who under German occupation had remained at the museum as curator.
knows where the Germans had taken the treasures from the establishment.
At first 'Clair' because of her experiences with the German occupation force is both reluctant
and suspicious of 'James's' motives.
The Monument team will try to protect the treasures as and if they find them, the risk to
themselves is immense.
Trouble is also, as the Allies advance, the Germans would rather destroy the stolen works
than it fall into allied hands.
Are the priceless treasures worth dying for....
This really is a very well made and well portrayed Film, it has tension, acts of bravery, certainly
well worth at least viewing......more remarkable because it is based on a true story.
There are also many great and possibly unexpected performances on-board.
Good Picture and Sound Quality Throughout.
Features -
* Deleted Scenes.
* In Their Own Words - Featurette.
* George Clooney's Mission - Featurette.
* Marshaling the Troop - Featurette.
* A Woman among The Monument Men -Featurette.
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on 15 December 2014
Far better than expected. The story of a team of older US serviceman tasked with rescuing stolen art works from the nazis. It features several well known actors, and I initially took the film a simply a vehicle for them. The story however is a good one and does highlight one of the less well known episodes of WW2, the theft of art works from public and private collections across Europe.
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on 29 April 2016
A great opportunity for a brilliant film about a compelling true story completely wasted on Clooney. It's clear that he got all his best friends together and convinced them to be in the film, without considering whether there was actually enough screen time for all of them. Felt very Pearl Harbour-esque, lots of American trumpet-blowing and general geographical stupidity. Highlights for me were the scenes set in 'rural France' featuring a red brick cottage, timber framed barn and quintessentially British church, with the only item qualifying it as French being a man wearing a beret.

Slow, fragmented, trying to be comedy with some very deep and touching moments thrown in in random places. All the right ingredients but ultimately disappointing.

We gave up half way through. Going to sleep was more exciting.
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on 8 December 2014
I loved this film. It has an excellent cast, presumably put together by Mr Clooney. The story is real and the war ending and moving towards Russia. It is the search for the Art which the Nazis have stolen and the band of men who are searching for it. The main cast are well known especially George Clooney who has also produced the film. The film isn't fast but jogs along at a reasonable pace, interspersed with humour. Finding the precious pieces of Art through Bruges and northern Germany made me as thrilled as it did the Monument Men. This is a film that we will watch a lot.
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on 12 March 2014
THE MONUMENTS MEN is a 2014 American-German film directed by George Clooney, written and produced by Clooney and Grant Heslov, and starring Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett. Based on the non-fiction book, a 500 or so page tome entitled The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel, the film relates the true story of a motley group of aging art experts tasked with finding and saving pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction by Hitler and the Nazis during the waning days of World War II.

Originally scheduled to be released in December of 2013, the film appeared on American screens in early February 2014 several weeks before the Oscars were handed out for excellence in Hollywood movie-making for the preceding year. The heroic efforts of The Monuments Men would have to wait another year to snag a nomination or two. The selection of films and performances presented for consideration from 2013 was far from heroic tales. We had stories about a bunch of Somali pirates, a corrupt Wall Street swindler, a dysfunctional family in Oklahoma, a Texas hustler who profited from importing AIDS medications, another sad tale of slavery, and a spinster trying to sell her stories to Walt Disney.

George Clooney is to be praised for bringing the story of a few aging "art warriors" to the big screen. The Monuments Men tried to preserve Europe's cultural history by volunteering to find about five million pieces of artwork stolen by the Nazis from wealthy Jews, museums, universities and churches before they were destroyed. It's a heroic adventure, the largest treasure hunt ever conceived. And a true story about some of the men and women from 13 countries who gave their time, talent, and effort for this worthwhile cause. Over 6,500 paintings were found at the salt mines in Altaussee, Austria. Gold bullion and 400 paintings from Berlin vaults were found in the copper mines in Merkers, Germany. Entire valuable private collections of wealthy Frenchmen were found at Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Important works such as the "Madonna of Bruges" by Michelangelo and Van Eyck's medieval Ghent altarpiece were salvaged

Interestingly, THE MONUMENTS MEN is not a war movie: it's an old fashioned film about a treasure hunt... more like Saving Mr. Rembrandt than "Saving Private Ryan." And it's not really a tale of humour-in-the-time-of-war like "Mash" nor is it a comedic-drama like "Ocean's Twelve" although Clooney plays a Harvard art restorer who gathers his "buds" for the adventure. It's a profound bit of historical and biographical drama. And it's about heroes.

Hollywood needs more movies about heroes.

Recommended reading (other than the Edsel tome)
Loot a novel by Aaron Elkins. Did the painting found in a Boston pawnshop fall off a German truck headed for the Altaussee salt mines in 1945?
The Lady in Gold: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Anne-Marie O'Connor Klimt's 1907 gold-flecked masterpiece is finally returned to an European industrialist's family after the Nazis rename it and "give" it to an Austrian museum.
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VINE VOICEon 21 February 2016
During World War 2 many thousands of art treasures were systematically looted by retreating Nazi's on the orders of their commanding officers. They were going to lose the war but they were making sure they would profit as best they could. Irreplaceable cultural pieces would be lost forever, either destroyed, buried or sold to the highest bidder on the black market. The Monuments Men, art historians and cultural experts, attempted to save as much of Europe's art as possible, not as easy task during the deadly closing year of the War.

Why this film got so much bad press is beyond me, it's no masterpiece I agree, but it's a perfectly good and well put together piece of cinema about a neglected area of the conflict. The starry cast is fabulous and backed up by great production values throughout. Clooney's direction is adequate to tell the story but exhibits little if any style or real conviction and the tone is rather inconsistent, sometimes funny others hard hitting and emotional. This does affect the overall atmosphere of the piece, but this is a small criticism in view of the overall quality. Clooney is very talented and likeable on screen, but I really think he should leave writing and directing to others.

It's not Apocalypse Now or The naked and the Dead, but to be honest it really doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is. There's no overall arching comment on war or the looting that always goes with it, it's just a war film with a difference. It touches very briefly on the argument that lives should/should not be risked to save art, but drops it just as quickly not wanting to open that can of worms. It is therefore in that respect a little old fashioned, not wanting to say too much, and could easily have been made in the sixties with Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart in the leading roles and that's not a bad thing.
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