What the hell happened to George Clooney’s directing career? He started off on such a high mark with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which was funny and original and energetic, but then every movie he’s made since then has been worse and worse. Good Night and Good Luck was fine on a technical level, but I found it uninteresting on a story level because he was waging a war against someone who has already been disgraced by history, so who cares? Leatherheads wasn’t bad but it was generic and I could feel myself forgetting it even as I was watching it. Ides of March was actively dumb because it posited that these long time political professionals had no idea that politics could be a shady business, which is asinine. And now Clooney has given us Monuments Men, which is so sloppy it felt like amateur hour.
This film never once found a consistent tone and followed through on it. In one scene it would be an Ocean’s 11 style light hearted romp with charismatic stars tossing around banter, in the next it would be a serious minded war movie where Nazis were killing brave soldiers, in the next it would be a sentimental handjob about how important art and culture are to humanity’s soul. Sometimes it didn’t even manage to have the same tone in the same scene, because it would cut back and forth from the three different stories it was juggling in a way that didn’t make any sense.
The sad part is that any of the three movies this could have been would have been fine. (Well, maybe not the sentimental handjob about how important art is, but the caper movie about stealing art back from the Nazis and the straight-forward war movie would have both worked.) Instead, by trying to graft all three stories onto one skeleton he’s made an unfunctioning monster which produced cynical peals of laughter from the audience I saw it with. It would have been a bad enough movie on it’s own, but coming from a guy who I want to like but is increasingly failing me it was particularly dispiriting.
Winner: The Cat