I'm a part time actor and part time writer living in Perth. I love being on stage. I love going out with friends, doesn't matter what we do
Published March 14th 2013
A movie designed to make you think
When world-renowned symbologist Dr. Langdon (Tom Hanks) is called by Parisian policeman Capt. Fache (Jean Reno) to consult on a murder case, the scholar is briefly flattered, then daunted when he learns he is a suspect, owing to a note left by the victim. Along with the victim's granddaughter, cryptologist Sophie (Audrey Tautou), Langdon tries to decipher the message, which begins with the victim's arranging of his own body to approximate Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. "Symbols," says the doctor early on, "are a language that can help us understand our past." The film reveals various characters' pasts, including the murderer's (a self-flagellating albino Opus Dei monk named Silas [Paul Bettany]), Sophie's, Langdon's, and significant events in history. Robert and Sophie end up on a kind of scavenger hunt from Paris to London, and are tracked by Fache and aided by Robert's colleague, Sir Teabing (Ian McKellen), who claims to be thrilled to be on a "grail quest." The mystery involves a Catholic Church's cover-up -- for thousands of years -- concerning Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Based on Dan Brown's bestseller, The Da Vinci Code is surprisingly unwieldy and conventional, despite and because of the controversy surrounding it. While the movie often looks like it's offering subjective views into Robert Langdon's mind, in effect these images are silly and slow. The special effects are unconvincing as paintings and sculptures move, and the explanatory voice-overs tend to repeat what's obvious.
For all the mystical blurring of edges, the film doesn't make smart connections between periods or characters, and it offers too much explanation and tedious literal flashbacks. The untangling of all the plot strands leads not to an interrogation of various institutions (academe, the cops, the Church), but to a pile-on of much less interesting personal pathologies.