Based on the book by Robert M. Edsel,The Monuments Men centres on an Allied group named the 'Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Program', tasked with saving pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction by Hitler during World War II. Directed by George Clooney, it marks the actor's fifth directorial endeavour. Aside from Clooney, Mouments Men boasts an impressive cast including Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett.

George Clooney Monuments MenGeorge Clooney [R] during the filming of The Monuments Men

Critics have so far been divided on this unusual wartime drama. Kam Williams writing for Baret Newswire called it “a history lesson about an obscure chapter of World War II successfully turned into entertaining Hollywood fare.” Whilst Variety’s Scott Foundas enjoyed the subject he felt Clooney’s adaptation did not do it justice, saying “Clooney has transformed a fascinating true-life tale into an exceedingly dull and dreary caper pic cum art-appreciation seminar - a museum-piece movie about museum people.”

Indeed the exact subject matter of The Monuments Men means it just doesn't have the amount of action you’d expect from a wartime drama, “Escapism junkies may feel betrayed,” wrote Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers before adding “Clooney has crafted a movie abort about aspiration, about culture at risk, about things worth fighting for. However Todd McCarthy writing for the Hollywood Reporter said,  “Too much of the time, The Monuments Men falls into a compromised middle zone, not urgent and only mildly amusing.”

George Clooney Hugh BonnevilleGeorge Clooney [L] and Hugh Bonneville [R] in 'The Monuments Men'

The big name cast of the film doesn't seem to do it any real favours, as Screen International’s Tim Grierson said “The Monuments Men boasts a fine cast, which only makes the movie feel all the more like a lost opportunity as it curiously, stubbornly refuses to come to life.”

John Goodman George Clooney
John Goodman [R] and George Clooney [R] in 'The Monuments Men'

Mostly though critics have found the film to be watchable and for once looking at a different part of Word War II history, as summed up by Keith Uhlich in Time Out New York  The Monuments Men is ,”another slipshod and banal, if always watchable, Hollywood co-opting of history.”
The Monuments Men is released in the US on February 14th.

Watch the trailer for The Monuments Men here: