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March 24, 2014 | by  | in Arts Film |
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How Clooney Saved Modern Culture Review

The Monuments Men
Directed by George Clooney
✮✮✮☆☆

As far as narcissists go, George Clooney does pretty well for himself. In managing to sell sex in Nespresso ads (he makes that coffee sooo drinkable, it’s why I bought one), The Monuments Men proved to be a solid building block in Clooney’s ego. The film featured too many shots of him driving an army car one-handed in Ray-Bans wearing a pretentious moustache. Being the co-writer, producer, director and star of this feature, when Clooney’s character quips about Hitler that “he wanted everything”, it seems somewhat hypocritical. However, as he so thoughtfully states, he is playing the man in charge of saving the “achievements of humanity”, so maybe we should cut him some slack.

The movie is based on true events poignantly captured by Robert M. Edsel in a novel of the same name. It centres on the extraordinary art crimes committed by the Nazis during WWII, and the group of volunteers who fought to stop them in an effort to preserve Europe’s culture. Clooney revealed in an interview his original desire was to strut around in a WWII movie. This story conveniently provided a novel way to do this, with the added bonus of giving him the opportunity to demonstrate he’s not “just a pretty face” by spouting painfully poetic voiceovers involving metaphors about ash and dust. Unsurprisingly, the objective of recovering lost art gets a little bit lost itself, for the sake of Clooney slamming empty bullet shells onto maps of Germany.

As a movie in general, the music drives your emotions crazy, with anticlimactic releases after two minutes of tense violins. Matt Damon is annoying, and it’s unconvincing that he’s ever been to the MET let alone been its director. Cate Blanchett reminds you of her Australian origins when her French/bordering-on-Germanic accent slips halfway through. A dead guy blinks; attention to detail.

However, I will give Clooney some credit. Casting Bill Murray was an excellent choice, revealing the ability to screech a fantastically hilarious “Holy shit”. The blatant cigarette promotion is also somewhat successful where you emerge with the conclusion that in moments of conflict, offering around a smoke is an incredibly effective way of keeping the peace.

A work of art? Not really. Is it genuine? Doubtful. Has Clooney proved he can do more than be an irresistible force of attractiveness? Depends if his husky voice is enough to win you over. While it would be interesting to see if he knows what a Gustav Klimt painting actually is, I do like the fact that at least he seems to care.

 

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