The Da Vinci Code Reviews
Fast paced adventure with violent action and even some thoughtful puzzle solving, The Da Vinci Code adapts Dan Brown's novel to the last word. Faithful in its adaptation, while Howard makes sure to take the questionable story with a serious tone. I found it helps the vibe of The Da Vinci Code as the material is well researched, but a stretch to believe, Howard instead focused on the journey as an exhilarating chase. It's really a quest for The Holy Grail. Darkened atmosphere ripe with murder and suspense, you never know what will happen next in The Da Vinci Code.
Excellent performances from the entire elevate the flawed premise to a new level of entertaining. Tom Hanks as the symbolism professor Dr. Robert Langdon is very fun. Hanks makes you believe even the most ridiculous clues and ideas that The Da Vinci Code desperately wants you to believe. Hanks keeps you invested as he is quite compelling as a leading man meets everyman. Similarly, Audrey Tautou is delightful as the mysterious Sophie Neveu. She exudes charm and intrigue. You cannot help but feel for her troubled character. I really like Tautou as an actress and wish she could have gotten more roles in her acting career.
Furthermore, I definitely enjoyed the various supporting cast members. Alfred Molina is perfect as the deeply corrupt Bishop Aringarosa. Similarly, Sir Ian McKellen is convincing as the knowledgeable and selfish Sir Leigh Teabing. Finally, I must mention the absolutely haunting and terrifying performance by Paul Bettany as the albino monk Silas. His every appearance is chilling to the core. He never feels over the top during The Da Vinci Code. He is a believable monster grounded in humble beginnings and devout spirituality. Bettany plays the self flagellating fanatic with a zealous passion. It is a wonderful performance.
Overall, The Da Vinci Code will turn away the religious and the skeptics alike. But if you are looking for a fun mystery with action and intrigue, look no further than The Da Vinci Code. It's really a respectful take on religious conspiracy theories.
The critics consensus states: "What makes Dan Brown's novel a best seller is evidently not present in this dull and bloated movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code." The film was poorly received at the Cannes Film Festival, where it debuted. Michael Medved gave the film a negative review, citing it as "an attack on religion". Anthony Lane of The New Yorker addressed the concerns of Catholics in his film review, stating that the film "is self-evident, spirit-lowering tripe that could not conceivably cause a single member of the flock to turn aside from the faith." In his Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin called the film "a letdown in every respect." Director Howard noted that the overwhelmingly negative reviews were "frustrating" to him. Conversely, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times (who had spoken very negatively of the novel) gave the film three out of four stars, stating "The movie works; it's involving, intriguing and constantly seems on the edge of startling revelations." Of the storyline, he also commented "Yes, the plot is absurd, but then most movie plots are absurd. That's what we pay to see." Lawrence Toppman of The Charlotte Observer, who also liked the film, gave it three and a half out of four stars and noted "unlike most Hollywood blockbusters, this one assumes audience members will be smart." Although many critics gave mixed to negative reviews of the film, critics praised the performances of McKellen as well as Bettany. On the "Worst Movies of 2006" episode of the television show Ebert & Roeper (January 13, 2007), guest critic Michael Phillips (sitting in for the recovering Roger Ebert) listed the film at No. 2. The film earned a Razzie Award nomination for Ron Howard as Worst Director, but lost to M. Night Shyamalan for Lady in the Water.
I haven´t red the novel, as I didn´t feel it was my sort of story when it came out, but I do like the story of The Holy Graal and the layers of Opus Dei, the institution of the Roman Catholic Church. With this storyline and solid actors Tom Hanks, Audrey Tatou, Jean Reno, Paul Bettany
and Ian McKellen you would think this movie would present us something tangible and intriguing, but this is as well a Ron Howard movie. He has never had that movie magic in him creating films that stands out offering something more unique. Howard gives us average films, but nothing more. I reckon Spielberg would´ve been a better choice as a director in this case. The character development and storyline feels rushed and it feels like Howard can´t wait to just do the action sequences. Hanks feels slightly miscast and he doesn´t seem to feel comfortable in the role. The others are ok, but I don´t think they are bringing their A-game and I do think that´s partly Howard´s fault. I personally don´t care about the correctness or if it´s historically accurate, it´s a movie, go with it. I like that the film ask questions concerning religion and the Roman Catholic Church, that is of interest and I do like the thought provoking messages in the film. "The Da Vinci Code" is an ok thriller, nothing more, nothing less.
Trivia: The film, like the book, was considered controversial. It was met with especially harsh criticism by the Roman Catholic Church for the accusation that it is behind a two-thousand-year-old cover-up concerning what the Holy Grail really is and the concept that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were married and that the union produced a daughter, and for its treatment of the organizations Priory of Sion and Opus Dei. Many members urged the laity to boycott the film. In the book, Dan Brown states that the Priory of Sion and "...all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate". The film grossed $224 million in its worldwide opening weekend and a total of $758 million worldwide, becoming the second-highest-grossing film of 2006 behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. It was followed by two sequels, Angels & Demons (2009) and Inferno (2016).
Albeit a little slow at times and a little contrived, but a solid mystery!
Good Production: 1.5 Stars
With some of the worlds most beautiful locations and art filmed, you would expect magical cinematography. Nothing was terrible but nothing was particularly memorable.