The DaVinci Code --- Starring Tom Hanks; Directed by Ron Howard; Written by Dan Brown

May 26, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:very intriguing story, Tom Hanks, an involved plot that kept my interest

Cons:none to my eyes

The Bottom Line: This was a very interesting film that was jam packed with historical finds and intriguing sub-plots, all surrounded by great acting.

Spawned from the wildly successful novel, The Da Vinci Code finally made it to the big-screen in part thanks to Director Ron Howard. With the amount of success that the book achieved, it brought along much controversy with the subject-matter that it covered. The main plot of the story is a story about a cover-up by the Catholic Church, and layered clues that could lead to a discovery on an ancient secret. It is really one of those stories that tries to work hard not to spoil its own surprises, and I am not going to be the reviewer that spoils it for anyone who hasn't read the book or seen the movie yet. Instead I am going to provide a review that pinpoints what I thought were the best aspects of The Da Vinci Code, and exactly what my thoughts of the story turned out to be.

The story begins with the death of a mysterious man in the Louvre, occurring simultaneously as we see a speech being given by Robert Langdon. Langdon is shown to be an expert in symbols and their meanings, and the audience gets a quick lesson in some of the more famous ones of our time. This is how they set up his expertise in the field, and gives us the belief that he really does know what he is talking about. It is about this time that my interest in the story started to pique, because I have always been intrigued by the use of symbols. This will quickly become the heart of the story, as Langdon is brought in by the French police to take a look at the crime scene. He quickly recognizes symbols that have been used, but something is oddly out of place in how the police are presenting themselves, and how the museum appears. Now in order to not only clear is name during an investigation, but to figure out the truth about why this man died, he must figure out a code that involves the very works of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Two stories are taking place at the same time, with Langdon on one side of things, and a young man working for the faction of the church on the other side. Paul Bettany plays Silas who has been tasked with finding a lot artifact before anyone else can, in order to destroy it. Obviously this is setting up the story so that the characters will cross paths later on down the road, but until then, we get a split story of intrigue with a lot of dramatic overtones. I think that these aspects of the story become the most interesting to me, because it makes the audience think along as the characters are trying to unravel all of the clues and secrets that they stumble across. It may turn off some viewers, because there are some quick moving scenes where you are expected to accept the story as it plays out and not question how the deductions are arrived at. For me I was able to get lost easily in the story, and thus it played out very quickly and concisely in front of me.

Tom Hanks is Langdon, and I think that he actually does a great job in the role. There have been a lot of critics of the film, saying that he didn't really fit the part, but I think it is because some viewers are unable to leave his former characters behind when walking into this new film. The book had depicted a person much younger than Hanks in real life, but I don't think the story is hurt at all by having Tom take on this "heavy" part. I think that in the end he is able to pull it off well, because he takes a back seat to a few other actors at times, and because he doesn't steal the screen every chance that his character gets. This was perfect for the part, because with people like Ian McKellen in supporting roles, Hanks was able to defer and still come out as a very believable character. As I mentioned McKellen plays an expert that Langdon turns to later on for advice, and with it we get a great history lesson, even if it is from the point of view of the writers for this film adaptation.

For some, the pauses in the story to flashback to moments in history could detract from the overall premise of a mystery in present-day France. But I think that it brings another interesting element to the film that ties everything together. The acting is top notch, and the casting was well crafted for the people who ended up being put in those roles. I liked the direction that Ron Howard decided to take the film, and I really commend them for bringing in Hans Zimmer for the score. I think that the music added a really great element to the story that sped up the pace and parts, and created emotional overtones at integral parts of the story that helped me like the movie even more. Through the story, you will be trying to figure out just what the Catholic Church could be hiding that would lead to all this drama, and exactly why it is so important that the secret never get out. With people working on both sides of the equation to discover it for their own means, we get dueling characters that create a story that has a lot of depth and focus. I particularly liked how Hanks handled the different challenges his character would have to face, and just how well the overall story was written to insure that a new viewer wouldn't just be able to guess what was coming next. Overall, The Da Vinci Code was an excellent story, and I really liked how Howard and Hanks made it so interesting. It is one that I can easily recommend, and a film that definitely cannot be missed.

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