The Da Vinci Code

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The Da Vinci Code
Review (5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

The Da Vinci Code is the controversial movie directed by Ron Howard and based on the best-selling Dan Brown novel that has made Mr. Brown a multi-millionaire and at the same time, angered Christians and Catholics around the world. The movie is sure to do the same. In the movie, Tom Hanks plays Robert Langdon, an American professor trapped in Paris after he is considered the prime suspect in the murder of a prominent French curator and historian. With the help of Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), Langdon manages to elude the police and begins to follow a series of hidden codes and puzzles that lead him to an ancient secret that a mysterious society has been hiding for more than 2000 years. If revealed this secret will shake the very foundation upon which Christianity and Catholicism have been built.

I have to admit I went into The Da Vinci Code fully knowing the negative buzz that has suddenly surrounded the movie in the last 24 hours following its screening at Cannes. Nevertheless, I went into the movie with a fairly open mind and really wanting to like this movie.

Unfortunately, for a movie with so much publicity, so much promise and so much hype surrounding it, Da Vinci is fairly disappointing. It's a tough book to tackle. There's a lot going on here and a lot that needs to be translated to the screen. But I'll tell ya, I read the book and there were parts of the movie I still found confusing. Between all the different characters, the subtitles, the flashbacks, the pointing guns, the cryptic messages, the prolonged dialogue, and Hanks' humoungous noggin, I'm not too sure how someone who hasn't read the book can totally follow what is happening. There are characters in the book who are central figures, yet in the movie, just seemed like a waste of film and make-up (ie. Alfred Molina's Bishop Aringarosa). The movie certainly seems to lack the urgency that exists in the book. And then there's Tom Hanks, who generally is one of my favourite actors and one of the best of our generation and he just seems to play the entire movie in a monotone, unexcited sort of fashion, despite his long, flowing hair and his acting does not stand out like we are accustomed to him doing.

With all that being said, the movie isn't a total disaster. As expected, Silas (Paul Bettany) is quite a compelling and disturbing character, as is Ian McKellan's Leigh Teabing. There are points of the movie that do manage to be intriguing and dramatic, just not on a consistent basis. Some of the mystery and mayhem does manage to translate quite well on the big screen but again, these moments seem few and far between.

Overall, I have to say that The Da Vinci Code does not live up to the high expectations it seems to have set for itself. The movie has received an extraordinary amount of publicity and in most cases, this would be a studio's dream. It should be interesting to see how this attention translates into box office dollars. There are millions and millions of religious folk who will not see this movie based on its anti-Christian and anti-Catholic premise and that is their right. Hopefully, a lot of them will take the high road and turn the other cheek because protesting will just encourage others to see the movie. Not that I'm against people seeing Da Vinci but wouldn't that just sabatoge the purpose of their protests? Because from what I'm seeing on the news and reading in the papers, there are going to be protests. Heck, I don't even blame them for being upset considering the movie claims the man upon which their entire religious belief is based was nothing more than a mere mortal who also happened to be married. Mr. Brown should be happy that most Christians and Catholics will turn the other cheek and not react like a handful of people did when a certain book written by a fellow named Salman Rushdie was published. But even with all the hoopla surrounding this film, there is not a whole lot to worry about here. I don't see The Da Vinci Code making any kind of permanent mark on the history of movies. It's just not that good of a film.

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