With a bunch of pompous professors strapping on helmets to rescue Rembrandts whilst the war raged on around them, the bizarre true story seems to have been begging for the Hollywood treatment since 1945. Awkwardly straddling the line between comedy and drama, George Clooney retells the story pretty much as it happened, in a mildly interesting, yet slightly dull take on a chapter of the war that definitely deserves better.
It certainly looks like a comedy. There’s Clooney rolling his eyebrows over a giant Dad’s Army map; Bill Murray and John Goodman squeezing into uniforms and struggling over obstacle courses; Matt Damon trying out his pidgin-French on Jean Dujardin; and Alexandre Desplat’s whimsical whistling theme sounding like something from Last Of The Summer Wine.
The only trouble is, there aren’t any jokes. When Clooney starts delivering over-earnest speeches and the gang starts actually getting shot at, it doesn’t even look like you’re supposed to laugh – although any genuine emotional attachment is out of the question too.
An amazing story and an amazing cast don’t always make an amazing film. Too light for drama, not funny enough for comedy; it’s unlikely anyone will ever risk their lives for this.