Review: ‘Monuments Men’ could have been an excellent mini-series

2014-02-14-The-Monuments-Men-movie-poster“Monuments Men” is directed by George Clooney (“The Ides of March”), who–like Ben Affleck–has turned his status as a leading man into a successful side career as a director.

Joining together an A-list cast that also includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blachett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban, the films looked like it was primed to be a war-themed “Ocean’s 11,” with a group of plucky heroes setting off to save the culture of a continent from the marching steps of the Nazis and the never-ending greed of Hitler.

That is not the film we get, however, and although the cast does an excellent job in their various roles, trying to condense a story spanning years and countries is ultimately too much for the script to handle in a cohesive and coherent manner. The acting performances and the story, as it is loosely told here, are worth a viewing, but it’s very apparent that, in an age where we have countless examples of excellent television, this is a story which would have been better presented as a “Band of Brothers” type mini-series.

The film is rated PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking.

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