Wednesday 26th January 2022

The Da Vinci Code (12A)
Directed by: Ron Howard
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

It's the film that needs no introduction really, isn't it? If you haven't read the book, you must have seen the controversy that surrounded the making of this film. If you missed that too, you must have witnessed the shameless non-stop promotional juggernaut that seems to have been rolling for months now. And if you've missed that too, you should probably check your pulse.

Paul Bettany realises he's just a figment of Russell Crowe's imagination
Paul Bettany realises he's just a figment of Russell Crowe's imagination

Dan Brown's best-selling novel is finally on the big screen, and it has quite the stellar line up: Tom "bankable" Hanks, Ian "he's so hot right now" McKellan, Paul "I'm the best thing in this film" Bettany, Jean "this part was written for me" Reno, Audrey "I was in Amelie" Tautou and Ron Howard telling Happy Days anecdotes in the director's chair. How could it possibly fail?

Well, it hasn't. You hear that, Mr Anderson? It's the sound of a $224 million opening weekend, the second biggest of all time (behind Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith). So it must be good, mustn't it?

The book on which the film is based is essentially written like a film, so the task of translating it on to the screen is a simple one indeed. The actors and the director are easily accomplished enough to carry out their performances to the level required for this pulp fiction, although Tom Hanks is not his usual charismatic self, possibly because he really isn't given very much material to work with.

Unfortunately, Tom's performance is kind of indicative of the entire film. It is adequate in every single way, but it certainly isn't brilliant. If you've read the book, and I imagine most people who will see this film have, then you'll already know the story, you'll be familiar with the famous locations and you can imagine how the actors will portray their parts. So when you come to watch the film, you'll find it is exactly as you expected.

A downside of adapting a novel like this for the screen is that there is no time to pause and consider the story for yourself. Instead of puzzling along with the characters and trying to second guess what is really going on, the film moves swiftly from page to page revealing the answers almost as soon as the mystery is unveiled, which rather reduces the enjoyment.

It's not a bad film by any means and it is worth seeing if only to satisfy that nagging urge felt by anyone who has read the book. However, I'd be surprised if more than a few people were actually wow-ed by this one. Maybe the planned adaptation of Angels & Demons will turn out better, eh?

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Length: 149 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 19th May 2006

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