Sunday, February 9, 2014

"Monuments" No Masterpiece

I saw "The Monuments Men" yesterday, because I'll go and see any movie about WW2. I rate it an honorable failure. It has all the right sentiments, a splendid cast, and on-location filming; but it has no soul. It's George Clooney's self-indulgent nostalgia trip for the best of WW2: the comradeship; the self-sacrifice; the splendid nastiness of the Nazis, but all the sentiments feel forced. It's more like a pastiche of second-rate WW2 films from the '60s and '70s like "Kelly's Heroes" and "Where Eagles Dare" than a real film. It tries to be authentic by reviving the old cliches: We have Cate Blanchett doing the frosty chain-smoking Frenchwoman with an accent not too ludicrous who's not above a little implied hanky-panky with the Dumb Yank (in this case, the Curator of the Metropolitan Museum, played by Matt Damon, who does a perfect Matt Damon, indistinguishable from all the other Matt Damons he's played); we have a central-casting sneering Nazi villain, whose name I forget because his main accomplishment is his resemblance to Reinhard Heydrich, and hats off for that; we have the dissolute, self-loathing English second son, Hugh Bonneville no less, who abjures the bottle and redeems himself...better stop there, or I'll spoil it. I thought the best parts were whenever Bob Balaban and Bill Murray were on the screen. I'd say they were worth the price of admission, but not including a visit to the concession stand. One thumb shakily up, the other firmly down.

No comments:

Post a Comment