The Da Vinci Code

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Those who absolutely have to see Dan Brown’s novel turned into talking pictures with a degree of fidelity will already know who they are, but for the rest of us, does the publishing phenomenon stand up on celluloid? Well, the money’s certainly there on screen, as the elaborate puzzle surrounding the murder of a Louvre curator and the religious mystery that may not have died with him wends its tourist trail through Paris, London’s Temple Church and Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel. But as Tom Hanks’ populist academic and his plucky sidekick Audrey Tautou (the dead man’s grand-daughter) try to join the dots before sundry clerical and anti-clerical nasties get there first, it swiftly becomes apparent there’s a serious surfeit of plot over character. There are grandiose ideas here positing an alternative history of Christianity, but to get to them, reams and reams of questionable history and individual backstory have to be dutifully trotted out, stretching credibility and leaving potentially arresting themes utterly uninvolving.

All this gives the high-powered cast little to go on (though cranky professor Ian McKellen makes a better fist of it than most), while the slackly handled thriller elements fail to provide the pick-me-up the film desperately needs. Completing the trail of cryptic clues simply becomes an end in and of itself – think ‘Sudoku: The Movie’ – with little in the way of whimsy, star chemistry or excitement to enliven the dour plod. One thing though: if you’re casting a self-flagellating, Latin-speaking, friar-hooded, freaky-eyed albino psycho, Paul Bettany is clearly your man. Decidedly missable.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday May 19 2006
Duration: 149 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ron Howard
Screenwriter: Akiva Goldsman
Cast: Audrey Tautou
Paul Bettany
Jürgen Prochnow
Alfred Molina
Etienne Chicot
Jean Reno
Seth Gabel
Clive Carter
Tom Hanks
Ian McKellen
Jean-Pierre Marielle
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John Cooper

I can't really write a review of this film, as to me, it seems quite conceivable that Audrey Tautou is a descendent of Jesus Christ .. .Alas, this film is determined to stick doggedly to the Dan Brown plot, and the more interesting question of Audrey's Tautou's divinity is lost within a cinematic crossword puzzle. Tom Hanks does his best, and despite the elegant cinematography and a haunting film score, the film never engages us emotionally . . .. However, if this is first time you've seen a film with Audrey Tautou, check out Amelie and Priceless to see more of this french goddess.

Annette

Quite reasonable acting by Tom Hanks of course. Potentially some very interesting, involving themes. However the 'mystery' storyline is so needlessly complicated, fuzzy, overlong and tedious it is too dull to watch. I was so bored I went to do the washing up, that was much more interesting.