Anthony's Film Review
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
A terrific mystery and thriller involving religion, greatly exceeding my expectations...
First off, a little background information. I love to read books, but I had not read Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code before seeing this movie. Tbe book must have not just a good story but also memorable and artistic prose, which I hear is lacking in the novel. Word of mouth from people I know convinced me to eventually check out what the hype is about. I still decided not to read the book despite this. From what I've heard, the film seems to follow the book faithfully enough. I figure I could watch the film and be satisfied with that.
That's exactly how I felt since the very first moment of the film. It introduces the plot premise quickly and sufficiently, then throws you right into the suspense. Jacques Sauniere is murdered in the Louvre by an albino killer named Silas (Paul Bettany). Shortly after, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is asked by the French police to assist with expert information related to Sauniere's death and the clues he left behind. Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), the police cryptographer, also enters the scene. Langdon then finds himself in danger as an immediate suspect. The chase begins from here.
Langdon and Neveu have two sets of adversaries. The French police are constantly on their trail and at times get close to catching them. French police captain Fache (Jean Reno) is the main representative of this group. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has a long-kept secret that must not be revealed. This is where Silas the albino and Bishop Aringarosa (Alfred Molina) come into play. Even with this, there is Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen), perhaps the best ally that Langdon and Neveu have in winning the pursuit and uncovering mankind's most well-kept secret.
At this point, it's no longer a murder mystery or a crime thriller. It's now a religious mystery. The plot has plenty of interesting surprises with the chase and the characters, so I have no complaints there. The film also shines in the series of deciphers involved. Starting with the Da Vinci code in the beginning, one clue leads to the next. Each time, the pieces of the puzzle discovered so far fit very nicely and logically. The dialogue in which the characters discuss the meaning of the clues is intriguing and not too lengthy. It's just enough to move things along. What especially helps is the use of surrealistic images to show the thought process as well as flashbacks to events in human history.
At this point, I should mention a major factor in one's enjoyment of the film. I think if I had read the book, I would be spending too much time comparing the book and the film, which would divert my attention away from what I should be paying attention to. I found myself engrossed in most scenes of the film because I had no knowledge of the novel itself. I do not know which scenes in the book are included, not included, or partially done in the film, but I can say that what IS in the film works quite well. In addition, I do know a little bit about the real-life information on which the novel is based, but that didn't make the film less thrilling.
I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code quite a lot. It has a script that maintains good pacing all the way through. What also helps is the originality of the story. A religious mystery like this one is a major break from the run-of-the-mill crime thrillers involving cops and criminals. Then there's the blurriness of the line between fact and fiction. While this is a story, it does take material from the nonfiction book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Watching this movie makes you wonder whether the secret about the Holy Grail could really be discovered and change the world forever. So with that, I'm very happy to have finally experienced the story that has captivated the world.
For more information about The Da Vinci Code, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my review of Angels and Demons and Inferno.