Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Monday, 29 August 2011
The Da Vinci Code
When Jacques Saunière (Jean-Pierre Marielle) is murdered, symbolist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) discovers that he left a series of clues in the form of symbols, and with the help of Saunière's granddaughter, French cop Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), follows them in what turns out to be a puzzle that leads to the last direct descendant of Christ himself.
First things first, I wholeheartedly disagree with the film, as I do the book, and the film's problem is that one of Langdon's lines to symbolist and historian Sir Teabing (Ian McKellen) actually describes the film and the book in a nutshell - "a load of superstition and old wives' tales which you've twisted to suit your own beliefs." Ultimately that is what the book and the film is, and it is too weak a premise, although Dan Brown claims he wrote the book "as an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate". However, it is all quite sloppy as there are major inaccuracies (Historical, Scientific, Religious, and with the layout of Temple tube station, among other parts of London) in both film and book, so really there's not that much we can take seriously. And with some rather underdeveloped events and characters the film does tend to drag in places.
Visually the film is quite strong, with some very eye-catching editing as ghosts of the past go through London, and with some very vivid and graphic scenes as well, such as Silas (Paul Bettany) whipping himself so he will sin no longer, which really makes one wince, and the way Jacques Saunière uses his body and blood to leave Langdon the first clue, which is a pretty gut-wrenching image. And despite the lack of strong screenplay we are also offered a strong cast, who do a good job with what they are given. Hanks is a strong lead, carrying so much of the narrative's weight successfully on his shoulders, while Tautou gives a sharp performance as Sophie. McKellen brings authority, sophistication and a sense of knowledge to the role of Teabing, even though the character's dialogue is a load of nonsense, and Alfred Molina is deeply caring as Bishop Aringarosa. The strongest performance comes in the form of Bettany as Silas, who Bettany makes a cold, yet caring character, and doesn't fail to draw us in.
At the end of the day this is a rather flawed film, although the novel is largely responsible for it being so, and the film's themes and ideas just can't be taken seriously, although it isn't that bad as entertainment, even if it does drag slightly.
Stars: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Paul Bettany, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, Jean Reno, Charlotte Graham, Jürgen Prochnow, Etienne Chicot, Jean-Yves Berteloot, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Hugh Mitchell, Seth Gabel, Marie-Françoise Audollent.
Golden Globe nomination: Best Original Score - Motion Picture (Hans Zimmer).