Friday, October 28, 2016

Movie Review: The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code is brought to life under the direction of Ron Howard. Tom Hanks stars as the renowned symbologist Robert Langdon who is called to the Louvre to solve a murder mystery. Paul Bettany plays the devout albino assassin, Silas. The murdered curator leaves behind a set of clues that Langdon must solve in order to discover an ancient secret left behind by the artist Leonardo Da Vinci. 

Langdon is assisted by the curator's adopted granddaughter Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou). Pursued by Captain Bezu Fache (Jean Reno) who is convinced of Langdon's guilt, Neveu and Langdon follow the clues that have been left behind. Silas also uncovers mysteries as he chases Langdon and violently chastises himself. The symbologist and cryptologist together elude capture and travel throughout Paris as the clues lead them towards a greater mystery.

Eventually, they encounter a scholar, Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen) who reveals the secrets that Da Vinci hid. These revelations may not be historically accurate but the conspiracy is intriguing enough to have achieved the popularity of the novel and film. As I remember, the mystery and intrigue were served better by Brown's writing but the controversy is entertaining enough. There is also a small role as Bishop Manuel Aringarosa played by Alfred Molina who instructs Silas that adds to the conspiracy.

The action is fast-paced and that helps viewers look past some of the silly dialogue and mediocre acting. Even Tom Hanks's performance is a bit disappointing though McKellen would shine if he just had a phone book to read. Reno is fun to watch as well and elevated his roles throughout this period of films, I alway liked him as an actor growing up.  The car chases through the streets of Paris and rural France add action to the scenes filled with explanations as they try to pack a lot of information into two hours. The movie feels rushed like many novel adaptations. 

There are some twists and surprises that keep viewers guessing though come off a bit obvious. Dan Brown knew how to pack in constant surprises within an intriguing plot. I'm a big fan of thrillers and have started working my way through the series of novels as I catch up on the films before the latest release, Inferno, but this adaptation comes up short to the fun of the novel, which I also recognize as not the best written book. The Da Vinci code was a success at the box office and spawned two sequels, one being released this weekend.

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