The story begins with a man in the shadows receiving a secret from another man fearful for his life.
A devout Opus Dei agent Silas played by Paul Bettany (better known as ‘Vision’ from the Avengers) is introduced as a conflicted soul looking for redemption.
The story jumps to Robert Langdon played by Tom Hanks teaching about the symbols throughout history, and the range of contexts they were used in.
Robert becomes involved in one of the greatest religious conspiracies in history. His journey takes him from France to London, where a secret has been covered up for centuries.
Dan Brown masters in drawing the reader in with an in-depth and well-researched plot and characters. From my recollection, the book is significantly better than the movie. Perhaps because the idea behind it is rather far-fetched, so the inconsistencies in the story are more obvious in the movie. Whereas, in the book, more of the back-story is explained, so in some ways makes it more plausible.
The movie brings the visual addition to the tantalizing tale of Da Vinci’s works, Opus Dei, and the controversial operations of the Priory of Sion.
Paul Bettany plays the gruesome fanatical villain that terrifies you in his extreme ways. The movie does a decent job of setting up his character, and his motivations behind what he does. His character is dark, disturbing, and obsessively committed. His acting, in my opinion, is a standout for this movie. Although, only playing a supporting role, at times, his acting is more believable and riveting than the main characters.
Tom Hanks does play a pretty good depiction of Robert Langdon, the symbology professor, and the protagonist. From a learned professor that has come into conflict with the church in the past, to one simple event changing his life forever, and forcing him to go on the run. He must uncover the codes to save lives, and his own.
Audrey Tautou plays Sophie Neveu, assisting Robert Langdon in his hunt for answers. At times she can be engaging; however, I didn’t particularly feel much connection with this character.
It is a rather convoluted story that does go a little far-fetched. However, that is the whole point of the conspiracy side – to test out what could be possible, to re-imagine history.
From France to London, from Da Vinci to Sir Isaac Newton, all are not immune to the theories of them being involved in a mysterious sect designed to protect a secret that the Church seeks to destroy.
Was I drawn into the plot? Certain aspects I found interesting. Unfortunately, there seemed minimal risks. The characters were chased about, yet I didn’t feel much suspense
building through the movie. Even though there are people after them, there wasn’t much urgency in their movements. A large chunk of the movie was filled with the characters just talking to explain what they needed to do, instead of hurrying to do it.
One of the problems with this is that at times you would think they would need to be rushing to get to their next destination, thus building suspense. Instead, they seem to have a lot of time to discuss things, making it appear even more unrealistic on what is going on.
The movie is three hours along, and feels longer based on the movie filled with a large portion of people just talking. Stakes and motivations seemed not only implausible, they seemed ridiculous at times. The theory behind if the secret was revealed, and what it would do to the world was completely undermined at the end of the movie.
And to be honest, realistically, I don’t think it would do much. Combined with what happened throughout the entire movie, nothing could actually be proven, so the killings and everything else was really a waste of time to begin with.
The melodramatic way the secret is finally revealed takes so long that I started to lose interest.
There seems to be more questions than answers, and not in a good way. Because the whole motivations of the killings were based purely on a theory with nothing to prove otherwise, I was left wondering what the point was.
The ending doesn’t give closure, it just seems it was more about the convoluted codes than about having a plot that actually makes sense, causing the overall story to feel disjointed and disconnected from everything else happening.
This might sound like a bit of a criticism for the writing on Dan Brown’s part. Which drives me to want to re-read his book again. I’m not really sure if the movie lacked conviction because of what Dan Brown wrote, or whether it is how the story was portrayed. And doesn’t translate well on screen.
For such a controversial tale that in some countries was actually banned, it is rather disappointing that it didn’t break more ground.
What did you think of the Da Vinci Code? Have you read the book, or watched the movie?