CANNES: "The Da Vinci Code" Review

by | May 17, 2006 | Comments

Dan Brown’s novel "The Da Vinci Code" has the rep as a page-turner with more intellectual heft than your average pulp. So it comes as something of a surprise that Ron Howard‘s film adaptation, premiering at Cannes, is so stagnant. It feels more like a walk through a museum than a thriller about conspiracy that could shake Christianity to its very core.

The story involves a famed symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) who is drawn into a mystery after a man he knew professionally is murdered at the Louvre. A series of clues around the museum lead Langdon and a police cryptologist (Audrey Tautou) on a search that reveals mysterious Catholic orders that will go to any lengths to protect Church secrets.

The film isn’t lacking for interesting or appealing performers, but they’re given so little do; the film squanders the normally sympathetic Hanks and Tautou in scenes where they’re essentially shouting historical quasi-facts at each other while running from somebody. Their characters have almost no back stories, other than some childhood traumas revealed in flashbacks. Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, and Jean Reno do what they can with their roles, but ultimately, after an overdose of information and five or six and things-aren’t-as-they-seem moments, it gets awfully hard to care about the characters or the plot.

The film isn’t to Christianity what "JFK" is to American politics; heck, it isn’t even as sharp as "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," a Holy Grail search that was more exciting, more amusing, and frankly, more theologically interesting. For all of the controversy surrounding "The Da Vinci Code," the biggest problem with the film isn’t that it’s sacrilegious (it isn’t, really), it’s that it feels so dramatically flat.

The film currently stands at 22 percent on the Tomatometer; see what other critics are saying here.

Tag Cloud

FX RT21 The Walt Disney Company BET Awards 007 Arrowverse Amazon Prime Video History leaderboard crossover streaming movies YouTube Red FOX sag awards critic resources Sci-Fi Film Festival jamie lee curtis Mary poppins period drama Academy Awards asian-american Writers Guild of America El Rey Food Network Mystery cancelled television criterion Tumblr indie king kong international 20th Century Fox sequel scary Spring TV screen actors guild hollywood venice boxoffice laika Television Academy news Rom-Com blockbusters kong Vudu IMDb TV Fantasy diversity President Adult Swim Shudder Star Wars A24 stoner Certified Fresh deadpool SundanceTV Broadway Opinion Television Critics Association book adaptation ID batman Netflix Christmas movies TLC romantic comedy nfl Box Office live event high school miniseries Brie Larson Fall TV ITV Reality Competition Oscars Stephen King Infographic DirecTV mission: impossible American Society of Cinematographers Hallmark Musical cars kids Tubi Walt Disney Pictures dragons Animation young adult YouTube Premium Endgame Baby Yoda renewed TV shows hist Marathons CNN Esquire TruTV animated concert Quiz festival Comedy CMT christmas movies facebook Tarantino Turner 2019 rt archives FX on Hulu Superheroe romance teaser japanese Apple TV+ technology Comic Book Rocky ESPN quibi Bravo Comic-Con@Home 2021 Sony Pictures 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards live action BET Hear Us Out rt labs critics edition Universal mockumentary wonder woman a nightmare on elm street video on demand dramedy elevated horror Ellie Kemper psycho blaxploitation new zealand political drama dc book twilight doctor who WGN trophy The Witch Lionsgate posters DC Comics NYCC Lifetime gangster comic book movie movies Captain marvel classics Rocketman harry potter YouTube cancelled AMC anthology MTV space X-Men Nickelodeon Holidays CW Seed 99% Valentine's Day Sundance art house best Song of Ice and Fire The Purge First Reviews Chilling Adventures of Sabrina name the review New York Comic Con Columbia Pictures spy thriller 24 frames Legendary comedies E! Marvel Television children's TV reviews Horror APB Epix obituary HBO heist movie The CW cancelled TV series Film Avengers biopic Disney streaming service toronto singing competition Family Grammys OneApp scene in color cancelled TV shows politics new york dark Masterpiece police drama Turner Classic Movies TV Land 2021 Heroines Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Nat Geo Premiere Dates indiana jones SDCC king arthur PlayStation talk show Toys Star Trek TV movies kaiju 2015 Schedule Pride Month travel Fox News series docudrama strong female leads 1990s werewolf marvel comics Nominations LGBTQ Showtime toy story BBC One 21st Century Fox zero dark thirty franchise revenge debate Instagram Live sequels The Academy ABC Family DC streaming service zombies boxing richard e. Grant screenings NBC canceled TV shows Fargo 2017 Disney Channel olympics japan films saw game of thrones Podcast TBS Travel Channel RT History superhero comiccon dogs Lifetime Christmas movies festivals cults Women's History Month war supernatural Funimation Warner Bros. Ghostbusters Emmys thriller die hard Pacific Islander Teen Crunchyroll fresh medical drama Black Mirror vampires Image Comics Marvel slashers Sundance TV genre comic books 2016 TV cops video independent Netflix godzilla comics cats 73rd Emmy Awards Mindy Kaling Tomatazos IFC Films Amazon Studios PaleyFest Video Games joker Musicals Mary Tyler Moore Thanksgiving spanish award winner VOD Acorn TV rotten BAFTA cooking french Red Carpet natural history Britbox Disney Cartoon Network VH1 Emmy Nominations Calendar TCA 2017 spinoff Sundance Now justice league Marvel Studios trailers robots Western halloween hispanic Comics on TV ViacomCBS OWN MCU streaming latino razzies Trophy Talk Exclusive Video hispanic heritage month unscripted nbcuniversal The Arrangement LGBT MSNBC CBS transformers Set visit 4/20 black comedy documentary movie Binge Guide SXSW dceu TV renewals stop motion critics blockbuster Cosplay golden globe awards sitcom child's play Hulu rt labs historical drama Action The Walking Dead PBS Sneak Peek adventure spanish language Pop Disney Plus Interview Creative Arts Emmys GLAAD discovery worst action-comedy mutant crime thriller aapi theme song witnail ABC docuseries Watching Series adenture Lucasfilm superman TIFF USA television crime universal monsters dexter See It Skip It Freeform Polls and Games sopranos Music San Diego Comic-Con slasher BBC psychological thriller E3 A&E Spike Holiday Character Guide versus Syfy target serial killer spider-man know your critic Chernobyl women Universal Pictures aliens black Cannes TCA Winter 2020 Rock Election anime composers IFC 45 comic NBA what to watch Tokyo Olympics Classic Film Christmas reboot Hallmark Christmas movies directors parents science fiction 90s documentaries Biopics ratings based on movie Photos Amazon Prime new star wars movies casting crime drama YA vs. marvel cinematic universe all-time Superheroes Spectrum Originals Country chucky stand-up comedy prank Alien Mudbound adaptation Starz cartoon breaking bad HBO Go foreign tv talk Ovation Logo 72 Emmy Awards spider-verse rom-coms FXX AMC Plus binge archives Fox Searchlight TCA Awards Summer Disney+ Disney Plus cinemax TCM Anna Paquin scorecard south america GoT finale remakes DGA telelvision free movies Awards Tour Peacock National Geographic sports disaster Black History Month Pirates pirates of the caribbean TV One green book Year in Review Pet Sematary legend biography 93rd Oscars social media 2020 Wes Anderson Extras jurassic park rotten movies we love Pop TV Best and Worst satire Elton John Reality basketball GIFs 71st Emmy Awards zombie canceled CBS All Access james bond popular australia fast and furious Amazon suspense Dark Horse Comics Mary Poppins Returns VICE Trivia lord of the rings DC Universe Winners spain game show comic book movies First Look nature Super Bowl true crime TNT football scary movies Paramount mcc Kids & Family USA Network italian Awards 2018 Discovery Channel Winter TV Neflix Countdown Apple TV Plus BBC America emmy awards Drama HBO Max mob worst movies dreamworks golden globes WarnerMedia Paramount Network Trailer feel good Pixar Paramount Plus ghosts ABC Signature Shondaland Apple TCA Martial Arts Crackle monster movies royal family halloween tv Comedy Central hidden camera