Having been mentioned as an Oscar contender for 2013, George Clooney's The Monuments Men was abruptly bumped from awards season to this week because, according to the press release, Clooney needed more time to finish it.
So its release was moved to February, a month whose releases are seldom part of the awards discussion (for better or worse).
As the evidence shows, Monuments Men would not have been in the awards mix. Well-made and honorable, it's also a movie that never achieves much momentum. Nor does it build to the kind of climax you'd hope for. Even with a stellar cast of actors, the film feels like an unfortunate mash-up of The Dirty Dozen and a later episode of TV's M*A*S*H (as opposed to Robert Altman's anarchic original film).
In other words, it has an old-fashioned feel, which is not a bad thing. The problem is the trajectory of the script by Clooney and collaborator Grant Heslov; while it has its dramatic ups and downs, it never achieves any real peaks and valleys, whether of humor, suspense or emotion. There is action, there is drama, there's comedy and tragedy -- but not enough of any of them to make this film compellingly watchable. Watchable, yes -- compelling, not so much.
This review continues on my website.