#395/#112 The Da Vinci Code
When the curator of the Louvre is killed within his museum, it sets in motion a chain of events which sees symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) on the hunt for the holy grail while pursued by the French police, the Catholic church and a mysterious albino monk (Paul Bettany).
I quite enjoy this film. It got a lot of bad press at the time of its release, and it’s obviously not as gripping as the book, but I think it works fairly well as a historic mystery/adventure yarn. The plot is a fairly novel take on an old story and it’s an interesting look into the ‘what if…?’s of Christianity. It’s all utter bollocks (despite what the books foreword may say), but one of the many wonders of film is that it doesn’t have to be about the factual and the humdrum. It can be about utter bollocks and still be an entertaining watch.
Hanks is a fairly good Langdon, but then when isn’t he good in a role? He’s not who I would have envisioned in the part but he does well to show an interested scholar pushed into these proceeding by circumstance rather than by design. Indiana Jones is awesome but there is no way you believe that guy sits at home marking essays or publishing papers; with Langdon you can. He’s feels like a real academic and Hanks is perfect for the nice guy, bookish type who can step up when needed. From the rest of the cast, Ian McKellen is great in his role as Teabing. He drops off a little towards the end but all the scenes in his house are really well done. Bettany as the monk Silas is also a really solid pick. Finally, Tautou as Sophie also works well. Nothing all that major for her to do but a good female lead and sounding board for Langdon all the same.
It’s also a rather nicely shot film. There are only really a few sporadic action scenes throughout the film so it has to make up for it was some really pretty cinematography. Similarly, the effect for the flashbacks and back story of the grail are weaved in very nicely. The only thing I can find fault with was that all of the puzzles and clues seemed rushed. The National Treasure and Indiana Jones films were good at pushing forward with the plot while still making it seem like our heroes had to take some time to work things out. In the Da Vinci Code it’s as if they have a cheat sheet they’re reading from. All the answers come just a bit too easily.
It’s not high art nor a real brain teaser, and I may have a bit of a soft spot for the history-based adventurer genre, but it’s still an entertaining popcorn mystery adventure with a solid cast that’s easy to sit down to. Don’t take it too seriously and you’ll have a good time. 3.5/5