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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Da Vinci Code

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Judy Thorburn

The Da Vinci Code

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

"THE DA VINCI CODE" - THE KEY TO AN INTELLECTUALLY ABSORBING THRILLER


It is said that religion and politics are the two subjects that should be tread on easy, since they cause heated arguments. Perfect example is Dan Brown’s best selling novel The Da Vinci Code that has sold over 60 million copies, and has been adapted to the big screen causing many members of the Church and other devout Christians to be up in arms. Some are calling it blasphemous and a big lie because of its controversial subject and storyline. As one of the most highly anticipated summer blockbusters, yours truly was anxious to see what all the hoopla was about. Once again, as I have said about other book to film adaptations, I have not read the book. I just don’t have time in my hectic schedule to sit down and read a lengthy novel. But, since the novel had everyone talking, I was able to get the basics. As a film critic, I choose to watch a film from an unbiased point of view. As for religionists who are voicing their complaints over the subject matter, my advice is to snap out of it. After all, it is just a movie and like the novel, interweaves historical facts with fiction, the key word being FICTION, to create an intriguing mystery thriller.

Acclaimed director Ron Howard has joined forces once again with star Tom Hanks for the $125 million screen version of The Da Vinci Code that also includes an international cast made up of French actors Audrey Tautou and Jean Reno, British stars Sir Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, Alfred Molina and German actor Jurgen Prochnow.

For those critics who have said Tom Hanks is bland and not up to his best, I disagree. He portrays Robert Langdon, Professor of Religious Symbology, an intellectual deep thinker, and as such his understated, restrained performance is well suited.

While lecturing in Paris, Langdon is called to the scene of a gruesome murder inside the Louvre Museum where he is asked to decipher the messages left on the victim’s body, that of curator Jacque Sauniere. Detective Fache (Jean Reno) targets Langdon as chief suspect and is out to get him. But, when police cryptologist Sophie Nevue (petite, doe-eyed Audrey Tatou) who claims to be the victim’s granddaughter arrives, she knows Langdon had nothing to do with his death. Being experts in their field, they team up and soon become embroiled in a mystery that threaten their lives when they begin to discover a series of clues within the paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci that lead to a conspiracy involving what their historian connection Sir Leigh Teabing (Sir Ian McKellen) describes as “the greatest cover up in human history”. Hidden messages bring to light information about “The Priory of Scion”, a secret society made up of members called The Keepers or Guardians who protect documents which reveal the truth about Mary Magdalene and her role in the life of Jesus Christ. On the other side of the coin is the opposing and powerful force, a clerical council within the Vatican called “Opus Dei” that has been working hard for thousands of years to suppress the truth about the holy bloodline in fear of the Sacred Feminine being a threat to the Church. Alfred Molina portrays the ruthless Bishop Aringarosa, and Paul Bettany is truly menacing as the deeply troubled, albino monk, Silas, who atones for his sins through self-flagellation. As a servant to the Bishop, he is used to do his dirty work as a “Soldier of God”.

Twists and turns involving cryptic codes and symbols, the Fleur De Les, and a box called the Keystone are significant parts of the complex puzzle that lead to the ultimate hidden treasure, the whereabouts of the Holy Grail, in essence Mary Magdalene.

Like I already mentioned, I know theories that question religion or any religious dogma get people all worked up. I really didn’t want to go there. But a close friend, who is a devout Catholic, has pushed me against the wall. If I must address whether the movie is anti Christian, on the contrary, it ultimately upholds the concept of faith and belief in God, but one that is non-sexist and in tune with the feminine aspect. So what if Mary Magdalene sat at Jesus’ right side at the Last Supper, or if she was indeed his wife, and his bloodline has existed through the centuries. Does that make Christ’s teachings less relevant? However, I must reiterate for the last time, The Da Vinci Code is fiction. But, with actual historical theological facts as a foundation, I found the story not only intriguing, but also a fascinating mystery thriller, minus a few moments of disbelief involving a scene with a flock of birds that appear suddenly to distract a killer, and the speedy time it takes for Langdon to unscramble an anagram or decipher a clue.

So, while I wouldn’t say that this is Ron Howard’s best film, he does create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense, with cleverly delivered historical flashback visuals and a stellar cast. Okay, it is not your typical action thriller and some may find the historical lessons too much to handle in one sitting and be bored. I’d call the film an intellectual, absorbing, thinking person’s thriller that I would recommend to audiences with an open mind who don’t mind having their beliefs challenged, even if only in theory. The Da Vinci Code may not be divine, but it is a good, entertaining flick, nevertheless.