Da Vinci a la Mode

The Da Vinci Code is one of the biggest wastes of film I’ve seen in a long time.

Unfortunately, it proves the old adage that good stories don’t make good films. While the premise of the film is definitely interesting and dramatic, the film itself is a lot like what would happen if you gave a team of 8-year-olds a copy of Hamlet and asked them to write a faithful adaptation.

So, what you get in DVC is: amateurish dialogue, a plot fueled (alternately) by complete absurdities or by dialogue, a non-character as a protagonist, and a lot, a lot, a lot, of history lecture.

Tom Hanks turns in his best performance as paint drying.

The only interesting things here are a nearly unrecognizable Paul Bettany as Silas the Nasty Monk and Audrey Tautou as Sophie, plucky French detective. What’s frustrating is that this movie could have been the next Pelican Brief, a taut, savvy thriller in which plot twists don’t turn on a dime and in which characters outweigh plot by a longshot.

Because the real drawing power of the book version is the plot, whatever poor hack adapted the film was probalby just stuck trying to reconcile how to communicate this great mystery with the flaw of revealing a single character trait for the main charcter in the last 30 minutes of the film. The only thing we EVER learn about Hanks’s character comes at the end, and by then, who cares?

This is what I looked like as I was leaving the theater.

My favorite moment in the film is where a hit man completely misses shooting our heroes because, above him, a flock of pigeons randomly coos and takes flight FOR NO APPARENT REASON, allowing the characters time to run away. And it’s not even a John Woo film! Factor in the Hanks character’s Peter Pereira-like ability to instantly unravel anagrams and store complex visual data for immediate recall in his brain and suddenly nothing’s making much sense anymore.

It was clear to me that Ron Howard lost a bet, or was suckered into buying a timeshare and the script to this film, or was emotionally blackmailed into participating in this subpar, waste-of-time project by an insidious secret society of evil Vatican priests.

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