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The Da Vinci Code (PG-13)

Release Date: May 19th, 2006 by Columbia Pictures.
The Cast: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, JŁrgen Prochnow, Paul Bettany, Jean Reno, Etienne Chicot, Jean-Pierre Marielle.
Directed by Ron Howard.

BASIC PREMISE: Professor Robert Langdon (Hanks), a symbologist, and cryptologist Sophie (Tautou) unravel groundbreaking, religious secrets after a murdered Louvre curator leaves behind mysterious clues.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Given its controversial theme, The Da Vinci Code could have been a suspenseful, thrilling, unforgettable experience. However, its plot quickly becomes redundant, ludicrous and just plain contrived after Professor Robert Langdon arrives at the murder scene at the Louvre in the first act. To add some plot tension, Robert becomes a suspect in the murder investigation as he runs away from a police captain (Reno). At the same time, he and a cryptologist named Sophie spend much of the second act unraveling clues left behind by the murdered curator which leads them to significant historical revelations. Ian Mckellen gives the only convincing performance in the most complex role as Sir Leigh Teabing, a wise yet shady scholar whom Robert and Sophie consult. If only the rest of the characters were even remotely as interesting. Everyone else seems uncomfortable in their roles, especially Alfred Molina, who plays a bishop. Paul Bettany plays an albino monk who tries to stop Robert and Sophie from uncovering the truth. The Da Vinci Code would have benefited greatly if it were cast with relatively unrecognizable actors just like in The Passion of the Christ . Itís difficult enough to watch these fine actors be typecast, but even more difficult to listen to their scenes of stilted, unintentionally funny dialogue with no real surprises. As a movie that relies on plot over character development, there arenít enough surprises or real tension to keep you at the edge of your seat. At a running time of two hours and thirty minutes, The Da Vinci Code overstays it welcome.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Stilted dialogue, a ludicrous plot and poorly-cast.


IN A NUTSHELL: Ludicrous, stilted, and poorly-cast with no real surprises.


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