Sunday, 20 September 2020
The Da Vinci Code
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Tuesday, 30 May 2006 21:08

Unfortunately, by the time this review hits the newsstands there will be nothing I can tell you about The Da Vinci Code that you haven’t already read in a million other articles. Chances are anyone who was interested will have already braved the masses and headed to the theatre. So, what I have to offer you is my own personal take on the movie and how successful it really is when you factor out the big box-office bucks.

With so much hype surrounding a movie like this it is easy to get blindsided into thinking it’s something it’s not. I’d like to start off by saying that neither the novel or the movie are life altering, except maybe to Dan Brown who will never again have to worry about paying the bills! Simply put, worries about losing faith through a work of popular fiction are quite honestly, silly. But don’t get me started on this subject; I think I cover it every time a Harry Potter movie comes out!

Since you probably already know the story I’ll make my summary brief. Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is in France making a presentation on symbology. After his lecture he is asked by Police Captain Fache (Jean Reno) to give insight into the symbols found at a grisly crime scene. Jacques Sauniere, curator of The Louvre, has been murdered and the body arranged to replicate Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. The trouble is, Langdon has been implicated in the crime but the curator’s niece Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) knows he is innocent. Together they must solve a series of cryptic clues to unearth a secret that has been buried for centuries.

When I read the book I could easily picture the events unfolding in my head as if they were already on film. With a page-turner like that it’s hard to imagine Hollywood not getting it’s paws on the movie rights. The Da Vinci Code is a treasure hunt with a very unconventional treasure. A search for the Holy Grail becomes a search for the truth behind the very foundations of Christianity.

So what do I think of the movie adaptation? Despite some harsh criticism from other reviewers I actually thought it was a decent and faithful adaptation. The differences between book and film were minor, except for the ending, which was a bit weak in the novel anyway. It is natural for a film with this much hype to have a lot of negative press. The very media that raise expectations to such heights seem to enjoy beatiing them down to new lows.

I’ve been hearing a bit about people being confused by the movie but I thought that everything was explained as clearly as possible. I’d be tempted to say over-explained. Maybe even venturing into the realm of cheesy! I hated scenes where objects would light up just so the audience could clearly see the symbols, hidden messages, etc. Why must every nuance be handed to us on a silver platter?

My other major complaint is the casting of Tom Hanks in the lead role. I know that he and director Ron Howard are old pals, but this is taking it too far. Hanks is a likeable actor, but nothing about him suited the role of dashing, scholarly professor. I found it distracting to see him up on the screen sleeping his way through the part. His face remained a blank slate through most of the film and I think even he realized how ridiculous he looked. With a wink and a nudge behind almost every line, at times I felt like his scenes should be on the blooper footage.

On the plus side everyone else was extremely well cast. When you have talent like Paul Bettany rounding off the cast it’s hard to go wrong. He steals the show with his portrayal of Silas, the devout but brutally violent albino who believes he is sent to do God’s will. Alfred Molina and Ian McKellan also bring quality to their roles.

In closing, there isn’t much I can say to convince you one way or another about seeing The Da Vinci Code. All I can say is that a couple of hours in the movie theatre probably won’t lead to any revelations, but you just might have fun. I give The Da Vinci Code 7 out of 10 stars.