< FRONT PAGE < WREVIEWS




Navigate to Film Reviews by Alpha

Navigate to Film Reviews by date posted

Navigate to Reviews Index

The DaVinci Code
 

Oh dear, oh dear. Dreadful, hateful book, turned into a loathsome, awful film. Come on Andy, don’t sit on the fence. Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks.

What about the book?
The rambling, inaccurate, ungodly, sacrilegious, heretical theme of the book propels the protagonists (I studiously avoid use of the word characters, for reasons which would be immediately clear to anyone who ever read a book which had some) headlong into a page-turner of a roller-coaster ride through the streets of Paris and er, Biggin Hill and somewhere in Scotland. They pontificate and lie about history, religion, our Saviour and his followers until an entirely unsatisfying ending is breathlessly reached.

Clearly the man can write a thriller, but he is desperately in need of an editor who asks questions about background, motivation, development, story arc and, most importantly, characterisation.

And now the movie
So we have a bestseller on our hands; this must surely be turnable-into a good film, right? H’mm. Clearly not, friends. The constant explanations interrupt the pace of the movie; the total lack of personality in Langdon and Sophie fails utterly to engage the viewer in any way that could be called emotional; the obviously just-weird-for-the-sake-of-it so-called albino evidently isn’t one, and the violence we’re warned about is a lot of fuss about some self-inflicted religious over-indulgence.

Sadly, none of the people who believe in God come across as credible; Langdon, who prays but has no faith is the nearest to a sympathetic figure, yet he’s just a collection of learning who dislikes enclosed spaces due to a childhood fright. Ho hum.

Most bizarre line of any thriller ever written, least likely to get the pulses racing: ‘We need to get to a Library.’ For crying out loud, that’s so dull, we just about forgive our heroes (stretching the term beyond patience) for getting on a bus – but they don’t bother to find a RouteMaster or a BendyBus or anything interesting, even then.

Even Doc Ock fails to chill, and he’s usually great; but the misguided Bishop doesn’t come over with any gravitas at all, and when he stops a bullet, no-one gives a Hail Mary.

On the other hand
However, I have to stop this for a mo to mention the outstanding, unshakeable talent that is Sir Ian McKellen. His fanciful, slightly bonkers expert on the history of the Holy Grail is a wonderful creation. He worked well in the book, and transfers to the screen with considerable authority.

It’s just that he’s given little to do, except smile with that marvellous Richard Briars twinkle; face slightly tilted downward, eyes rolling, playful expression crossing his lips. He’s the only good thing in the movie, apart from the art, and does so well I thought more about his darkly brooding nazi-esque Richard III or his wretched and odd-haired John Profumo (Scandal) than I did about Magneto or Gandalf, or Mel Hutchwright (X-Men, LotR, Corrie).

Conclusion
Can he redeem this sprawling, overlong, hectoring, po-faced polemic? No, redeem would be exactly the wrong word. He does make the latter half palatable, as he has the only humorous lines and spanks the story along when it starts to flag with some didactic graphics.

It pains me to have to give this film a score using my version of Leonardo’s iconic image, since he’s so severely rubbished by association.


Navigate to Film Reviews by Alpha

Navigate to Film Reviews by date posted

Navigate to Reviews Index