Jay’s Movie and Music Blog

Making my passions known

My First DVD Review: The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Posted by Jay Medina on January 11, 2007

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View the trailer 

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this movie, based on Dan Brown’s book.  However, I did think this was a bold move by Ron Howard (Appllo 13, Backdraft) to try to create a smart mystery wrapped in an enigma.  I hadn’t read the book, but undoubedly, the movie most likely pales in comparison to the book, as most movie version usually do.  Let’s keep that debate out of this, and go strictly for the movie on it’s own merits, shall we?

I found the movie to be smart, and clever, and allows you to follow along pretty easily; even if you’re no Jeopardy champion like me.  Since the movie covers a wide range of topics from the taboo (Opus Dei and it’s dealings with the Roman Catholic Church), to the uber-intellectual (symbols and anagrams and puzzles), Howard paints a layered and textured piece that blends well with its European surroundings.

The cinematography is crisp, the music and sound adds tension to every move.  Overall, the movie gives you a sense of looking into a menagerie of characters, plot and subplot, with vividness of crisp imagery and well-lit scenes.  Even the night shots were particularly easy to distinguish, to which Howard deserves much credit.

While sometimes you might feel extremely inadequate in the IQ department, the movie lets you off the hook, by giving you enough to keep up and then feel smart for having stayed with the characters.  Dr. Robert Langdon, played by Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump), is a super-intelligent, anti-hero.  Hanks, in my opinion, has mastered the craft of acting, and is completely believable in his reluctant Dr. Langdon.  Only through Langdon’s understanding that there is no alternative but to solve the mystery surrounding him, does he dive in completely and use his intellect to turn the tables on his manipulators.

He posseses no bravado and is in some cases utterly frightened at the unknown.  Hanks portrays Dr. Langdon as a fish out of water, who is thousands of miles from home, and out of his usually safe and comfortable acedemic surroundings.

The damsel in part-distress, part savior, is played by Audrey Tautou (A Very Long Engagement), an accomplished French actress.  She is intelligent and a great counter-weight to Dr. Langdon.  She keeps him grounded and adds her own smarts to the mysteries surrounding them.

Jean Reno (The Professional, Ronin) is a little out of sorts as French Special Investigator Capt. Fache.  He is a little rusty playing a heavy, since the last time he did so was in Brian de Palma’s Mission:Impossible in 1996.  Most of the time, Reno is a good sidekick or a tough guy who is at home in action movies.  In this case, Capt. Fache is not a serious bad guy, but more of an obsessed stooge, doing someone else’s bidding.

The standout performance of the movie had to be Paul Bettany (A Knight’s Tale) and his portrayal of Silas.  Bettany creates a truly morbid, confused, yet fragile character that leaves you wondering whether or not to feel sorry for him.  I had to do a double-take upon seeing him, as Bettany was completely transformed into Silas, and fully devouring his role to the point of unrecognition.

Because of the controversial nature of the storyline, this may not be for everyone, however, I did enjoy the plot and the subplots, and found it to be a fun time.  At the end, I felt a little smarter for hanging in there and letting myself soak up the history and trivia, not all of which may be true.  But, hey, won’t I be the life of the party when I talk about the trivia surrounding the painting of “The Last Supper”?

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5 Responses to “My First DVD Review: The Da Vinci Code (2006)”

  1. mydigest said

    I simply refuse to attend any movie, or watch any TV doco, or buy any book that gives comfort to superstition (although I let my Mensa friends drag me to see Rings 1 just for the effects). Mindkind suffered being burned at the stake, swallowing hemlock, and facing tortures without limit in the long war for Scientific Rationalism and Securlarism. There is no ratchet-effect built in to Progress so each generation must guard against the encroaching hordes of theist and superstitious intellectual-perverts. Excellent writing on your part in the review, of course. You are as good a blogger as I am a poor non-theist and representative of Humanism. Cy Quick at mydigest.wordpress.com

  2. Jay Medina said

    Thank you, I think. 😉

  3. Scott said

    Jay, I think that your blog is great and gives information that we (normal humans) find interesting and useful without all the hype and advertising.

    Although, I don’t agree with your first review, I do think it is well constructed and written and look forward to reading more.

    Keep it up.

  4. Jay Medina said

    Thank you Scott. I appreciate your candor, and I mostly appreciate you coming by and enjoying the blog. Will you please tell your friends about it?

    Thank you,

    -Jay

  5. Joan Severance Oops

    I Googled for something completely different, but found your page…and have to say thanks. nice read.

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