The Da Vinci Code **1/2

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Tom Hanks in "The Da Vinci Code"

First off let me say that I have not read the book.  I am simply going as a film lover.   Secondly I do not get offended by fiction and this movie is a work of fiction.  Finally, I do not get offended by other peoples religious beliefs.  Why do you ask?  Maybe because I have a brain, or because I have no religious beliefs, you take your pick.  So this review is solely based on a suspense thriller called The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks and Jean Reno.    

The movie opens with a murder at the Louvre in Paris.  The curator has been murdered, and with several ciphers and clues left to be found.  The police man on the case is detective Fache (Jean Reno).  Tom Hanks plays Dr. Robert Langdon, a symbolist who is in town for a lecture.  He is brought to the scene of the crime by Fache in order to help decipher the codes.  But once Faches real intentions are revealed, Langdon escapes with Sophie Neveu, a French police woman who helps him.  Together they embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of the Holy Grail, its true origins, and where it might be located.  This leads them to a vault in a private bank, to the French country side, to the templar church in London, to a very isolated church in the British country side, all the while eluding the authorities.  Along the way they pick up Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen), who has been obsessed with the Holy Grail all of his life.

This plot line is intercut with another story, involving an albino named Silas (Paul Bettany), who operates under the control of the Teacher, a shadowy figure at the center of a conspiracy to conceal the location of the Holy Grail. The conspiracy involves members of Opus Dei.  Silas must either destroy the evidence, or locate the Grail before Langdon and Sophie can. 

The movie is masterfully directed by Ron Howard and carefully adapted from the bestselling book by Dan Brown.  Like I said, I have not read it so I will not compare the two.  What I can say about the film is that it is always interesting and never loses my attention.  Hanks is competent in the role of Langdon and Sir Ian McKellen cheerfully chews up the scenery as Leigh Teabing.  I particularly liked Jean Reno as he always brings his wits and his world weariness to most roles he takes. 

The only downside of this movie is in the action scenes.  All of the escapes and showdowns depend on blind luck.  There are many moments when the opposing forces could have killed off the two leads, but were continually foiled by their own idiocy. 

In the end I am not sure what all the hype was about.  The movie is nothing new to the world of cinema.   It is a fun suspense romp that comes and goes and didn’t really change my life what so ever.  It is high class candy.  Enjoy it for what it is people.

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