ReviewWriter: Yap Yew JinWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
Who needs the publicity? The hype and controversy surrounding the movie itself is enough to make heads turn and eyes cast in the direction of the ticket booth. Headed by some of today's most popular actors in the lead roles, "The Da Vinci Code" is definitely one of 2006's major blockbusters.
Set mainly at night (smart move by the director, Ron Howard), the movie is dark and sinister and adds to the brooding atmosphere of the murder, suspense and conspiracy theme of the movie. With the movie kicking off with scenes of the curator running through the dark galleries of The Louvre, obviously in fear since he's being chased by a homicidal albino monk, most people would predict that the film will race along at a breakneck speed. Well, not quite...
Howard remains so faithful to Dan Brown's controversial novel that he ensures all of the most interesting theories translate intact, but watching the stars drone them out one after another until the film's final moments, is far from fascinating.
Fortunately, Howard delivers something Brown doesn't - dramatic recreations of events relating to the book's central provocative theory that the Catholic Church has been covering up the fact that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and fathered a daughter, whose bloodline has survived into modern-day Europe. This also includes scenes of the Inquisition, with those of women being tortured, burned and drowned as well as that of Mary fleeing the Holy Land for France and giving birth there.
Action fans will be delighted by the hair-raising car chase in which Sophie Neveu, charmingly played by French actress Audrey Tautou, steers her little Smart Car backwards along the streets and pavements of Paris with the police in hot pursuit.
The other actors themselves played their respective roles to almost sheer perfection. Tom Hanks, with his long hair swept back, has a professional look that ideally suits the role of the unsuspecting college lecturer, Robert Langdon, who is drawn into a murderous conspiracy. Paul Bettany is bound to give audiences nightmares as the limping, psychotic monk Silas while Sir Ian McKellen portrays a strong supporting role as the manic Holy Grail historian Sir Leigh Teabing.
As the weight of the novel's success increases, its flaws start to surface. The film adaptation, riding on the book's massive accomplishment, isn't let off the hook easily. The adaptation is faithful, perhaps, but faithful is rarely enough to satisfy. There's nothing technically wrong with Howard's film, but Brown's approach to the novel is essentially untranslatable, but that's perhaps more a criticism of the book than the film.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008