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Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
885
3.9 out of 5 stars
The Monuments Men [Blu-ray]
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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on 10 June 2014
On a 14-hour flight to Europe, with little else to choose from on the airline entertainment system, I ended up watching this. The Monuments Men is to film production what airline food is to haute cuisine. World War Two is reduced here to a theme park in which an assembly of big-name actors get to ride the attractions and we, the viewers, are treated like franchisees expected to hand out hotdogs and fairy floss of applause. The give away in a film supposedly about the precious treasures of Europe being rescued from the Nazis is that only a tiny amount of airtime is given to showing any works of art, presumably because the film-makers considered them essentially boring. Alas, the trials of long-distance air travel.
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on 17 February 2014
"The Monuments Men" (2014 release; 118 min.) brings the story, "based on true events" we are reminded at the beginning of the film, of 8 men, tasked by President Roosevelt himself, to try and protect and/or recover the troves of art looted or threatened to be looted by the Germans during WWII. As the movie opens, we are in Ghent, Belgium, where Jan van Eyk's Altarpiece is being dismantled and whisked away. The scenery shifts back to the US where Lt. Frank Stokes (played by George Clooney) is putting together his team. There is the architect (played by Bill Murray), the sculptor (played by John Goodman), etc. etc. Once they get to Europe they split up and head out to various areas (Belgium, France, Germany). In a parallel story, we also get to know Claire (played by Cate Blanchett), a Parisian secretary working for the Nazis but secretly keeping track of everything. To tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: this film is very much driven by (a labor of love for) George Clooney, as he co-wrote, co-produced and directed this (his first since 2011's excellent "The Ides of March", and his 5th overall). Second, notwithstanding what I just wrote, the move is an ensemble performance of mostly all-stars. Besides the ones I've already mentioned, there is also Matt Damon, Jean Dujardin (he of "The Artist" a few years back) and the always reliable Bob Balaban, just to name those. Third, even though this is NOT an 'action' war movie in any way, there are nevertheless a number of impressive looking production scenes, with a cast of hundreds, as Clooney is trying to recreate the chaos that existed in the latter phases of WWII. Fourth, if you don't like art or history, save yourself the trouble as more than likely you will not enjoy this film. Besides the search for the Van Eyk Altarpiece, the other artifact that is a major plot point in the movie is Michelangelo's sculpture of Madonna and Child, from Bruges, Belgium. AS it happens, I grew up in Belgium (went to high school in Bruges, no less), and have seen both these artifacts, but had no idea about their perils during WWII until I saw this film. Last but certainly not least, there is a fantastic orchestral soundtrack to the movie, composed by Alexandre Desplat. Bottom line: this movie is definitely not for everyone, but if you do enjoy a historical drama with a heavy dose of art, you cannot go wrong with this. At one point in the movie, Hitler signs a decree that if he is killed, all, as in ALL, of the looted art works are to be destroyed. Clooney's men get wind of that, prompting one of them to comment "Now we have to hope nobody kills Hitler. I thought I'd never say that", ha!

I saw the film here in Cincinnati at a late matinee. Imagine my surprise when it turned out this particular screening was absolutely PACKED! I never expected that. I enjoyed "The Monuments Men" more than I had anticipated, truth be told. This is a solid historical drama that gave me some insights on WWII, and in particular the preservation/recovery of art in WWII, which I didn't have before. "The Monuments Men" is well worth checking out, be it in the theater or on DVD/Blu-ray.
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on 15 June 2014
Sounded promising but failed to deliver. Despite the big names it is lacklustre and a 'monumental' struggle to maintain interest.
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on 12 September 2014
Terrible film with no soul whatsoever, we felt as though we were watching some sort of rehearsal of a bad play.
Not recommended!!
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on 17 July 2014
Given the strength of the actors involved in this film I was disappointed in the extreme. The film was 'Bitty' to say the least. What could have been a good and involving story ended being a series pastiches with no real linkage. Cate Blanchette's character was, to say the least somewhat superfluous and could have been dropped with no effect on the overall plot and film.

The film was also spoilt for me by by trying to give each character a story line that didn't have time to be fleshed out. Would probably have benefitted from a giving more time to the length of the film, albeit I assume
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on 5 September 2014
A four stars from me but two from my wife. I loved the history and the light banter. Little swearing and violence wasn't too graphic. The premise is a little ponderous in places and some might find it boring. Many would rent this because of the actors - I like them all so they made the film all the more delightful. However, no particular actor comes to the front as 'wow!'; they all play in muted roles to give screen time for everyone else.
The biggest moral question it raises is whether a life is worth exchanging to save a work of art?

Us guys might enjoy it more than the ladies.
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on 21 September 2014
This film is okay, only because it is well filmed and the locations are superb. I thought this film would have been in the Kellys Heroes theme of a swashbuckling action movie set behind enemy lines with loads of action. The fact is there Is hardly any action. The story is focused on the hunt for the lost treasures/artwork and gold. The film is too serious on this subject, and whilst it is good to portray the way it was and be accurate, for the list of stars in this film it could have been so much better, even a couple of decent action scenes would have made it more enjoyable.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 2 February 2015
Saw this film at my parents house. at first I thought "oh no not another World war two movie". However I have to say that the film is very good indeed. It is not full of gun shooting action. Instead we have an intelligent script that has been directed well by George Clooney who also stars in the film.
Based on true events the story was interesting and engaging with a strong cast that provided quality acting all round.
A group of seven men are assigned to search and find stolen art treasures, paintings, sculptures and gold that the Germans have hidden away. Originally intended by Hitler for the greatest museum art collection in the world, The treasures have been hidden as the Germans retreat as the allies advance across Europe. The men have a dangerous mission even entering German occupied areas to try to retrieve the treasures before it is hidden or destroyed forever.
The film takes us though their adventure with a passion to save the great masters before it is too late.
Excellent film that is slow to build and does need a little bit more tension to be a perfect film but worth watching.
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on 24 June 2014
This is compelling story of the depths the Nazis were prepared to go to steal art in all its forms. There are small vignettes that embellish the story such as finding barrels of teeth fillings,the killing to steal the statue from Italy.What glues the whole story is the undertone of humour contrasted with determination to reuse the works of art.My only criticism is the story promolgates the idea that the US did everything on their own in Europe but,forgiving that , a really good fascinating story.A good Film experience for the whole family.
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on 27 February 2016
An easy to watch film. Humorous throughout and has enough action to keep anyone interested even if they aren't particularly interested or knowledgeable about art. I think it would be a good watch in an art lesson at school- makes you think about art in a way that is often not presented, and it also shows that it is an important part of culture- it has at least changed my perspective slightly although I can safely say I won't be sacrificing my life for a sculpture no matter whose it is
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