The Da Vinci Code (2006) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
2,104 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Sorry but I liked it.
heisenberg1226 August 2019
People seem to hate this movie for some reason, and I remember when it came out, it was really controversial in that it got many bad reviews.

However, years later around three years ago I caught it for the first time on basic cable, and I honestly didn't see what all the criticism was for. Not only was it immersive and intriguing, for the most part, but it had a pretty powerful ending and reveal at the end. It isn't great, so maybe the hype was what triggered so many negative reviews, but it also isn't bad.

I never read the whole book, but understood the premise. If you really want to enjoy this film, you probably should set the book aside and set beside any offense you may take as to the religious conjecture, and just view it as a mystery movie in and of itself. I really enjoyed the ending- the whole final fifteen minutes or so.

88 out of 97 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"We've been dragged into a world of people who think this stuff is real!"
classicsoncall16 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
If you heed the advice given by symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) to Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) mentioned in my summary line above, you should be OK. If you don't, you could get caught up in all kinds of conspiracy theories regarding what happened following the Last Supper and the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Some historians believe the chalice used by Jesus at The Last Supper to be the Holy Grail of Christianity, and I thought this was where the story was going. A cup is mentioned at one point but then it veered off in a different direction. The secret so many people were apparently willing to die for was to preserve the legacy of the human descendants of Christ on Earth, which could only have occurred if Jesus himself had a wife and family and the lineage survived up until the present day. The way the story relates this possibility is intriguing enough, but does tend to confuse with mentions of such occult entities as Opus Dei, the Priory of Sion, and the Knights Templar. The expert on all this was an enigmatic figure referred to as The Teacher, ultimately revealed to be Sir Leigh Teabing, portrayed by the always excellent Ian McKellen. The actor to watch in this piece is Paul Bettany, who's character Silas engages in self mutilation as a devotee of Christ; he's a truly chilling and scary character. There's probably not much middle ground for viewers of this picture, you'll like it or hate it based on the reviews posted here. Once it got under way, I approached it as a mystery thriller with religious overtones and didn't get caught up in the conspiracy angles. It holds a lot more intrigue that way.
13 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
better than many critics have given it credit for
Buddy-515 July 2006
From the way the critics have gone after "The Da Vinci Code," you'd think that Ron Howard himself had been jealously guarding the location of the Holy Grail all these years and was just now revealing it to all the world for his own nefarious (i.e. commercial) purposes. Actually, despite all the critical hostility and rancor, this turns out to be a reasonably entertaining adaptation of a reasonably entertaining novel, far from a classic or a work of art, but hardly the pile of cinematic refuse so many of the reviewers have led us to believe it is.

As a work of history, the novel is a passel of nonsense, and only those with a bent towards conspiracy theory overload would be foolish enough to believe a minute of it. But as a work of imaginative fiction, "The Da Vinci Code" certainly gives its audience the neck-twisting workout they've paid good money to receive.

It would be pointless to reiterate the plot of a novel that has probably had the biggest readership of any literary work since "Gone With the Wind." Suffice it to say that a mysterious murder in the Louvre sends a Harvard symbologist and the dead man's granddaughter on a clue-driven search for the famed Holy Grail. Along the way, the two uncover a grand conspiracy on the part of a renegade Catholic order to protect a secret that, if it were revealed, could shake the whole of Western civilization down to its very foundations.

Despite the phenomenal - one is tempted to say "unprecedented" - commercial success of his work, Dan Brown is no great shakes as a writer; his characters are, almost without exception, drab and two-dimensional, and his dialogue, when it isn't being overly explicit in pouring out explanations, sounds like it was written by a first-year student in a Writer's 101 workshop. But the one undeniable talent Brown does have is his ability to knit together a preposterously complex web of codes and clues into an airtight tapestry, and to make it all convincing.

The movie is very faithful to the novel in this respect. It moves quickly from location to location, never giving us too much time to question the logic (or illogic) of the narrative or to examine the many gaping plot holes in any great detail. Writer Akiva Goldsman has encountered his greatest trouble in the scenes in which the action stops dead in its tracks so that the characters can lay out in laborious detail the elaborate story behind the clues. Yet, this is as much the fault of the nature and design of the novel as it is of the man given the unenviable task of bringing it to the screen. Moreover, perhaps in the interest of time and keeping the action flowing, Robert and Sophie come up with solutions to the myriad riddles much too quickly and accurately, with a "Golly, gee, could it mean_______?" attitude that borders on the ludicrous. But, somehow, Howard makes most of it work. Perhaps, it's the clunky literal-minded earnestness with which he approaches the subject that ultimately allows us to buy into it against our better judgment.

Tom Hanks is stolid and passive as Dr. Robert Langdon, the college professor involuntarily driven into all this cloak-and-dagger intrigue, but Audrey Tautou has a certain subtle charm as Sophie, the woman who may play more of a part in the unraveling of the mystery than even she herself can imagine. Jean Reno and Paul Bettany have their moments as two of the less savory players in the story, but it is Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing, an expert on all things related to the Holy Grail, who walks off with the film. His scenery-chewing shtick pumps some much needed life into a tale essentially populated by underdeveloped stick figures.

The religious controversy surrounding both the novel and the film is as ludicrous as it is unjustified. Anyone whose belief system could be seriously shaken by this absurd mixture of unsubstantiated myth-making and plain old-fashioned wild speculation couldn't have had a very solid foundation of faith to begin with.

The rest of us can appreciate "The Da Vinci Code" for what it is, an overblown but epic exercise in code-busting and clue-decoding - in short, the "Gone With the Wind" of whodunits.
112 out of 150 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
2,5 hours of good entertainment.
hok_herman21 May 2006
I've read the book, and the movie's not so bad. Obviously there are many things I'd do different, but in the end it's 2,5 hours of good entertainment, and isn't that what the ratings are all about? Personally I think Tom Hanks wasn't passionate enough for Robert Langdon. That's why it's not a 9 for me.

A lot of people are too harsh on this one. Mostly because they know the book and have very high expectations. I have to see my first book-to-film where the film is better.

Also, you're not going to hell for watching this movie or reading the book. It's based on a novel, which is based on a few loose theories, but in the end all it wants to do is to entertain. And that is exactly what both the book and the movie did for me.
95 out of 114 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
AnnaPagrati29 August 2021
This movie is honestly gold. I'm speechless, the plot twists have me everytime!
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Actually a clever film, flawed it is, but it is criticised way too unfairly
TheLittleSongbird24 August 2009
This was much better than I expected, and it is far from the worst film ever made. My dad loved the book, and he thinks the film did it justice, and at 17 I liked it. Though with all the different views on Christianity and the complicated plot, it is confusing and convoluted. The dialogue is a little clunky, the violence like the whipping quite disturbing, and the direction perhaps too leisurely. But this is compensated by the splendid locations, especially Paris itself, and the music by Hans Zimmer was very nice, if not his best work. The acting was pretty decent, though all have given better performances, and this includes Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in the leads. Jean Reno and Paul Bettany are pretty solid, but it is Ian McKellan, who is a great actor and rarely disappoints in anything he's in, who gives the best performance of the film. All in all, a good film, though it could have been better. It was cleverly constructed though confusing, and it is nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be. 7/10 Bethany Cox.
21 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Nutshell Review: The Da Vinci Code
DICK STEEL18 May 2006
This movie is becoming as controversial as the book. Since the day it was announced that it's gonna be made, there were protests against it being done, and it has escalated to calls for boycotting, or banning the movie altogether. I'll not waste time and go into its controversies, nor discuss what's real and what's not. Neither will I explain in detail the plot, as I believe most of you readers would already have some vague idea of what it's about, or have read the book, since it's on the bestsellers list for months.

Rather, I'll evaluate the movie as it is, on how well it entertains. Those who wish to preach in my comment box, prepare to have those comments deleted, at my discretion. This is the stand I shall take, that this movie is entirely fictional, based on events which are used loosely, for the sole purpose of weaving a storyline that tries to be believable. I think some have already mentioned it's too successful in doing that, and may mislead people into thinking its theories presented, are real. However, don't take it too seriously, and if you wish to, use another proper platform to debunk the myths, not my movie review blog.

The structure of the movie, is exactly the same as the book. There is no change to the ending, despite some rumours that it will be different. Naturally, some of the detailed explanation that's given in the book, especially many three-way dialogue between Sophie- Robert-Leigh, have to be summarized in order to pace this movie into 2 1/2 hours. Herein lies the challenges. For those who've read the book, the movie offers nothing new, other than the gratification of watching events and characters play out on the big screen. For those who haven't read the book, the movie version should be decent enough to make you want to pick up the novel and read more into the controversial theories explained.

However, having being familiar with the plot and how the story unfolds, red herrings, character motivations, twists and all, it may leave those who've read the novel, a page-turner in every sense of the word, a bit wanting, that the pace could've been improved. Undoubtedly the pacing sags when it's time for some dialogue heavy moments, but I suppose that is unavoidable when you're revisiting material.

However, its presentation of these controversial dialogue moments coupled with special effects, that will make you go wow. Truly, the technique is nothing original, and some of the visuals used looked like Return of the King and Kingdom of Heaven rejects, but as a whole, combined with the narrative, it helps to present the controversies in a more palatable manner.

Casting, I felt, was spot on. Tom Hanks makes Robert Langdon pretty accessible, given Hanks' everyman demeanor, and Audrey Tautou makes a believable Sophie Neveu. Ian McKellen, probably THE actor with 2 summer blockbusters back to back (the other being X- Men 3), is convincing as the rich grail hunter Sir Leigh Teabing. Paul Bettany is chilling as the albino killer Silas, and Jean Reno and Alfred Molina round up the star studded cast as the detective Captain Fache and Bishop Aringarosa.

Much is said about the haunting soundtrack, but as far as I'm aware, there's nothing scary about it. Silas, in his scene of self-cleansing, is horrid enough though, as are some scenes of unexpected on screen violence that hit like a sack of potatoes falling from the sky.

In the end, in spite of all the controversies, perhaps Robert Langdon's line is poignant - if given a chance, would you rather destroy faith, or renew it? The book and the movie have provided an opportunity for the faith to renew itself, to debunk the myths and theories (which were developed loosely to make the story flow of course), and to generally point the curious to the direction and light the faith wants to show.

Otherwise, this Ron Howard movie makes a good summer popcorn flick, with the usual thrills and spills you'd come to expect with its superb production values.
514 out of 880 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best movie critic is YOU
Flagrant-Baronessa23 May 2006
So I suggest not writing this off as a Hollywood hack film, simply because it's the bandwagon thing to do. Before you go and see The Da Vinci Code, let all the negative and positive hype surrounding this production cancel each other out, clear your mind, and judge this film fairly. Do NOT judge it on its usually weak director, do NOT judge it entirely on the source material and do NOT judge it on your religious beliefs. All this will be rewarding.

I have not read the book so I will not attempt any kind of comparison.

Plot essentially goes like this: In the middle of the night, Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is summoned as an expert to a crime scene in Le Louvre where a terrible murder has been committed. The victim's body is self-placed in such a bizarre, symbolic way next to one of the world's most famous paintings that the investigation gradually unlocks age-old mysteries that many do not wish to be unlocked.

The Da Vinci Code is a chilling, thrilling and well-sewn together mystery thriller that often keeps you on the edge of your seat. The cast do not disappoint either. Paul Bettany is genuinely creepy as Silas and thereby reinforces the stereotype that all albinos are evil. While Audrey Tatou is annoyingly frail as Sophie Neveu, she is captivating and lovely and is able to project both charisma and presence on screen in this film. However, Tom Hanks did not at all feel like the protagonist in the story and I am unaware whether that was intentional or not but I'm guessing no, in which case Hanks definitely fails in both attracting and keeping our interest.

So the cast usually perform well (with the exception of Hanks) and the story is also facilitated by some very striking visuals. A big plus for this film which elevates it slightly above generic formula is its beautiful locations often seen through epic aerial shots. Good call, Howard! Another big plus is its distinctly Euro-centric feel in both style and substance. This surprised me since it is Tom Hanks and Ron Howard in the same film, but they do manage to keep the overblown Hollywood clichés to a minimum. This is even apparent in the score by Hans Zimmer; it is not overblown, but subtle and appropriate in the scenes to which it was scored. Similarly, Frenchmen do not speak English with a French accent when they were alone together, but speak in French. That said, the plot does unfold in a somewhat Hollywood fashion -- and the plot happens to be thinner than an Olsen twin.

To counter the good parts, two big minuses in The Da Vinci Code are its wooden and sometimes even placeholder dialogue and its distinct lack of humor. I felt the actors were much too serious for this kind of film, which is first and foremost an adventure story, fast-paced and constantly unlocking new mysteries. The issues in the film were serious enough and needed more comedy to balance them.

As I write this review, more and more bad points about it spring to mind. This is strange, since I remember sitting in the cinema with my friends just a few hours ago and being thoroughly entertained and captivated by the whole thing. So, never mind the occasionally insultingly far-fetched plot and plot-twists by Dan Brown; The Da Vinci Code is a nicely done and very entertaining film in which nothing feels missing or incomplete.

162 out of 283 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A case of "if you want the best experience, read the book"
STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits

A curator is murdered in Paris's revered Louvre Museum. The French police, headed by Leutenant Bezu Fache (Jean Reno) call on the expertise of Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), an expert in Pagan Symbols, when mysterious, blood-drenched patterns are found all over the body. However, Fache's suspicions of Robert have already been aroused and, unbeknownst to the professor, he's slipped a tracking device on him. Then Agent Nevu (Audrey Tautou) intervenes, springs him from the museum and begins a wild chase around Paris full of wild twists and turns. Robert learns the curator was Nevu's grand-father and was involved with a religious sect called The Priory of Sion. It all leads to a monk, Silas (Paul Bettany) sent by the religious sect of Opus Dei and the ultimate re-writing of history.

There's nothing like controversy to get something talked about, and it seems the best results are when that controversy involves religion. Dan Brown's much talked about novel The Da Vinci Code set off much consternation by basically re-writing the bible- and now that controversy has been adapted to the big screen.

The book suffered from trite dialogue but still managed to be a relentless page turner that fired at you with interesting fact after interesting fact and kept you on the edge of your seat till the last page. The film adaptation, then, is as good as can be expected. It's well cast. Tom Hanks is just the kind of lead you need for this kind of thing, but he's not at his best here. Jean Reno also has appeal as Captain Fache (strangely, though, I'd always pictured Michael Gambon in the role!) Tautou and Bettany are also very engaging in support but it's Ian McKellen who steals the show here as eccentric old grail enthusiast Sir Leigh Leabing, delivering the most spirited and compelling performance. And it has a reliable director in Ron Howard. But if you've read the book, the film offers little in the way of it's own variation on the story and pretty much just plays it like it was in the book, making it a bit of a dull and unsurprising thing after a while. If you haven't read the book, do so, it'll be much more rewarding. ***
20 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Lot Of Hype, But Delivers Enough
damianphelps17 April 2021

The book is always better because you fill in the blanks with your own imagination!!!

You all need to let go of this ridiculous measure for rating a film.

The story in this case is pretty good, the acting is mostly ok and its sets up an effective atmosphere filled with mystique.

Its a good film.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The standard 'not as good as the book' applies here.
GF917 May 2006
I can't say I was blown away by The Da Vinci Code - as is often the case, the book was far superior. I generally like Tom Hanks in almost all his roles, however I found that I had such a pre-conception of what Robert Langdon should be, that it took me about half an hour to get used to Hanks occupying this character. Once I settled into it though - it was a thoroughly enjoyable, occasionally slow moving thriller. Having read the book, I did have a knowledge of the various groups and factions involved - I'm not sure how someone who hasn't read the book will fair though. The casting of the movie is surely one of it's stronger points - Paul Bettany is almost unrecognisable and plays the menacing single minded Silas to utter perfection. Sir Ian McKellan too, it totally fantastic, and really steals most scene's he appears in. He delivers some great one liners too - a real character actor playing a real character. Audrey Tautou is as we have come to expect, just lovely, and who else could have played Bezu Fache - Jean Reno was made for the role. As you'd expect from a Ron Howard Production, there is a good amount of cheese, especially towards the end. Langdon's "Godspeed" caused me to awake in the night sweating! I am a fairly harsh marker on the IMDb, so don't be put off by a 6 out of 10 - I did enjoy the movie, but my anticipation was so great with this film, that it could never live up to my expectation.
675 out of 1,065 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's Easy to Unlock This "Da Vinci Code": Ron Howard's Film Is a Winner!
lavatch19 May 2006
Dan Brown's international bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" has enjoyed phenomenal success because it taps into a wellspring of so many different and fascinating topics. The novel touches upon the early history of Christianity, the mysteries of the medieval Knights Templar society, numerology, and, above all, the archetype of the Grail Quest. The strength of Ron Howard's film lies in its integrity of striving to be faithful to Dan Brown's novel. The fidelity is apparent in each of the following areas:

SCREENPLAY: Akiva Goldsman's script includes nearly all of the major scenes from the novel. To his credit, Goldsman provides dialogue on the Knights Templar, Mary Magdelene, Leonardo's "Last Supper" mural and other details from the novel.

DIRECTION: Ron Howard's stylish approach to the film includes interesting camera angles, especially in the aerial shots of such great location sites as the Louvre in the Paris and the Rosslyn chapel in Scotland. It was clear that Howard wanted not merely an action picture, but a leisurely paced retelling of Dan Brown's story. There was also the thoughtful use of close-ups in the more intimate moments with a brilliant analytical scene dissecting the controversial "chalice" apparent in Leonardo's "Last Supper."

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Overall, the film was appropriately dark and moody. The flashback sequences were shot in a grainy style that contrasted with the action-packed story of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu. Salvatore Totino deserves the highest praise for his tasteful yet imaginative camera work.

ACTING: Tom Hanks was not overly charismatic as Robert Langdon. But that is precisely the bookish Everyman who is the protagonist of Dan Brown's novel. As Sophie, Audrey Tatou was more dynamic than Robert, as appropriate to her character as well; there was a sparking and even radiant quality to this young performer. The supporting cast was solid with Jean Reno especially successful in developing multiple layers of characterization in the morally conflicted detective Bezu Fache. Perhaps most memorably, Ian McKellen delivers a star turn as the scholar Leigh Teabing.

Over twenty years ago, Umberto Eco's novel "The Name of the Rose" was the equivalent in its time of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code." The subsequent film version of Eco's story was a disappointment in its attempt to equal the success of the novel version of "The Name of the Rose." In the case of Ron Howard's film version of "The Da Vinci Code," however, not only does the film do justice to the novel, but in many respects it is better!
193 out of 380 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Da Vinci Unworthy of Negative Hype
KrisDemeanoR22 May 2006
Last Tuesday, when The Da Vinci Code premiered at the Cannes Film festival, it was met with a chilly reception from the reviewing elite. It has been called "plodding," "stale," and "uninspired," thus, dashing the hopes of many movie goers who were hoping to see one of their favorite novels brought to life by one of their favorite directors, and starring one of their favorite actors. Since I'm not a slave to snobby film reviewers, I went to go see it for myself despite the negative hype. And as the credits rolled at the end of the movie, I felt increasingly unsettled; not because of the quality of the movie, but because one question lingered in my head: What's not to like? Am I crazy for actually being entertained by what I just saw? How could the critics pan what I, and those around me, seemed to enjoy? Okay, so that's more than one question....

First, I have to qualify myself. I read the book and I LOVED it; couldn't put it down. I loved the history, the speculation, the riddles and puzzles, and the masterful blend of fact and fiction. Additionally, I'm not religious, although I was definitely familiar with Christian historical icons such as Jesus, John the Baptist, and Mary Magdelene before I read the book. I also happen to be a big fan of Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, and Ian McKellan.

Having said that, I went in prepared to like this movie, even though I had somewhat lowered my expectations based on the barrage of bad reviews. All of this proved to be a winning formula for me, apparently.

If you're like me and you loved the book and you like the artistic team that pursued making it into a movie, then you'll most likely come out satisfied. You won't mind what many critics have called "overly-long exposition" and historical flashbacks, because that's pretty much what the book consisted of. And in the book, it was absolutely engrossing! So, I personally didn't mind all of the explanation of history, symbols, etc.

Critics have also found fault with Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou's portrayals of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu (respectively), saying that they delivered flat performances. But once again, whoever read the book will remember that both of these characters weren't that dynamic on the written page, either. Of course, Sir Ian McKellan, with the juiciest role of Holy Grail scholar Sir Leigh Teabing, chews up the scenery every time he's shown on screen. Sir Leigh Teabing was also one of the richest characters in the book.

I think that the people who won't like this movie are people who didn't read the book, and are going into the theater expecting a regular movie, which it's not. It's an adaptation of a very wordy, detailed, twisting, speculative novel that blends fact and fiction in a devastatingly effective way, and it's easy to get lost while watching the movie if you don't already know where the story is going. Sure, Ron Howard uses digitized, grainy flashbacks of ancient pagan rituals and societies to move the narrative along and to keep the audience on point, but I can see how it could be overwhelming to those who only know the bare bones of the plot. However, those who found it fascinating in the book will find pleasure in seeing the visual accompaniment to what they've already read.

In short, you go see this movie (or read the book) for how it challenges popularly-held beliefs; not for its rich, engaging character development. It's a quest for the "truth", and in terms of the IDEAS expressed, they did a dag-blasted good job of translating those ideas onto the screen. Those who often complain that movies don't stay true to the books that they're based on will find comfort in the fact that Akiva Goldsman and Ron Howard have stayed incredibly close to the original text when translating it onto the screen. However, this will be to the dismay of those movie-goers who haven't read the book, and are therefore expecting a traditional action thriller with traditional action thriller dialogue.

If you go to, you'll see the huge disparity between what the critics have said, and what the users have said regarding this film. While the cumulative critics rating is a dismal 22%, the combined user rating is a 74%, which is way above average for the site. That should speak volumes to whoever is skeptical about seeing the movie because of the bad reviews.

The bottom line is that it's definitely a movie worth watching if only to see how the creative team behind it went about turning the best-selling novel into celluloid. It's also a treat to see something in popular culture challenge popular religious ideals so skillfully, even if only in the form of fiction.

My advice: go see for yourself.
79 out of 112 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Could have been better... Should have been better.
BrodieMann10 July 2006
If you take the most popular book in recent years, you should have the most popular movie since The Lord of the Rings, right? Wrong. Though the film was hotly debated, its cinematic quality and popularity aren't nearly as high as one would expect. Amid protests, pending lawsuits, and outright denouncements by Catholic officials, Ron Howard released his adaptation of Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code.

American symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and French cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) are on a trans-European quest to solve riddles left by Louvre curator, Langdon's hero and Neveu's grandfather, Jacques Saunier, as he lay dying. The riddles and subsequent quest allegedly lead to the true identity and whereabouts of the famed Holy Grail. Hot in pursuit of the thinking man's Bonnie and Clyde is Javert-ian French police captain Bezu Feche (Jean Reno), intent on pinning the murder of Suanier on Langdon and Neveu, and albino monk, Silas (Paul Bettany) under the command of a mysterious telephone voice known only as The Teacher.

With a pedigree such as the most popular book in the world, two Academy Award winners (Hanks, Howard and writer Akiva Goldsman), French film superstars (Tautou and Reno) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen), you'd wonder how such a film could fail.

Well, how about the miscast of Howard as director. Howard lacks the vision to properly adapt the novel and bring it to life. Some of the blame does go to his Cinderella Man scribe Akiva Goldsman for not writing a fitting script. But Howard's awkwardness is more prominent. If we were going to pick name directors for this film, Steven Spielberg would have been better choice, but I think David Fincher (Se7en and Fight Club) would have been perfect.

The whole production felt rushed. Having just read the book, a lot of plot points were fresh in my mind, and that may have clouded the comprehension of certain things, which I think Howard and Goldsman were counting on. Looking back on it, the first 30-45 minutes were very rushed, and I don't think things were adequately explained. They were still referenced and used in the movie, but not explained well. It suffered from the, what I call, Godfather syndrome: referencing things from the book at the wrong time. They could have taken their time with the film, and it would have told the same story, and been a lot better.

Hanks was out of place as Landon, our hero. He doesn't have or project the same presence about him that Langdon should have. Might I suggest seasoned conspiracy theory veteran David Duchovny? As with Mission:Impossible:III, the supporting cast was impeccably put together, and the one true weakness of the cast is unfortunately the keystone (maybe it's just a bad year for actors named Tom).

Slightly better than your average summer fair, but still doesn't hold up when put against the equally action oriented yet wholly more insightful X-Men franchise.
91 out of 161 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Da Vinci Code
jon200524 May 2006
The controversy surrounding The Da Vinci Code hardly needs to be introduced. It seemed that very few people were actually going to give the film the benefit of the doubt, while most would criticize it before seeing it. Of course, many more of these critics had not read the book either, and so were pleasantly ignored by the 60 million and more people who went out and bought the book.

When I read the book, I accepted it for what it was – a pulp novel. The kind of book you take on holiday to read while you're at the airport. It wasn't wholly convincing, but I thought it was great fun to read, and very cinematic in style. The writing wasn't classic, but the pace of the novel was such that these points could be overlooked. It wasn't surprising that a film would be made given the book's success and despite initial critical reaction what we are given is, while not perfect, a solid adaptation of the book that will at least give the audience plenty of food for thought.

This is no National Treasure though. If you're looking for adventure and daring action then look to that film. This is a different beast, instead preferring the slow build up approach to story-telling - it is to the mystery/thriller genre what V for Vendetta is to the action genre. Most of the important parts of the book are when the characters are sat around a table talking. This immediately doesn't sound like it could translate to the screen that effectively, but there are enough nice touches to keep the audience interested.

First of all, the story itself, whilst not necessarily historically accurate, it is still absorbing and it genuinely makes you wonder about the truth behind the religion. There are also some nice visual flairs, including some well shot flashbacks, and the way Robert Langdon (Hanks) visualises the unscrambling of the codes is a great way to show the inner workings of is mind. At first it may seem silly but there is very little choice as to how to portray someone thinking. Hanks himself is passable in the role, but is not really given anything meaty to do. However, the same can be said of a lot of the cast, and this is purely down to the fact that the plot is moving too fast, and giving out too much information, to be able to dive into character exposition. Ian McKellen as Leigh Teabing is wonderful as a slightly eccentric English Grail expert, and gives a lively performance, which helps considerably given that most of his role is to explain everything to Langdon and Sophie Neveu (Tautou). Paul Bettany plays against type to play the murderous monk Silas, and he will make you wince with his self-flagellation scenes. The other cast members are all satisfactory but nothing special, again because of the speed of the story.

There are a couple of chase scenes which are supposed to be tense, but they turn out rather lacklustre, and one scene near the end comes off as daft (no spoilers, but people get saved by a pigeon, of all things!). The plot may be hard to follow at times, especially if you haven't read the book, so full attention will be needed; however, if you have read the book, the film sticks very closely to the story, omitting some parts for timing reasons, and it is now that we realise why the Da Vinci Code is how it is – the film-makers couldn't do much else with it, as the tone and content of the book has to be retained for it to be a faithful translation: what suffers in the book suffers in the film.

Overall, The Da Vinci Code is worth seeing, if only to see what all the fuss was about. If I was the Catholic Church, though, I would be more concerned with the religious violence portrayed in the film than with the outcome of the plot, which can try all it likes to challenge established dogma but most likely won't succeed because people know the book and film are fiction. Keep that it mind when you see it – don't take it literally and chances are you will enjoy it that much more. At two and a half hours it is a tad too long, and can be confusing to first time viewers, but it is definitely thought provoking, and a mostly worthy adaptation of the book.

Rated: 7/10

More reviews at:
33 out of 53 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
16 years after
fil-nik0918 January 2022

I can not believe it has been 16 years since the book and film !!! I just finished watching. Of course I saw it 16 years ago but I do not recall anything from then nor I remember the book.

Now, looking at the film, I like it. It was entertaining for the most part. I like the artsy scenes in museums and churches... the story is interesting. Audrey was good, though less good than in Amelie Poulain.

All in all - 8+ from me. Almost nine, but I gave 9 to Inferno. 3rd film in the serie.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Movie... For Intelligent, Unbiased People
kajmel17 May 2006
First off, I'd just like to say that this movie is based on a fictional story. FICTION. Why people need to express hatred over this because of their religious beliefs is so mind-boggling. No one is saying that Christianity is wrong, and that this story is right. The book is classified as FICTION, not THEOLOGY! I should also note that my extremely religious Christian friends don't find this movie at all "disturbing" or "wrong". The fact is that if you believe in something, nothing -- including a movie, or story -- should be able to deter you from that belief. If you feel threatened by this movie or any other story like this, you have serious problems regarding the foundations in which you believe.

Now, to the review... I'm not here to give you any spoilers or story info, since that's all been done in the other reviews.

I have never read the book. I went to see the movie with my boyfriend, who read the book recently, and some friends (one of whom has read the book at least twice, and is so into the story that he has researched the symbols and meanings thoroughly and participates in Da Vinci Code games, forums, etc). So we actually had at least 3 differing perspectives here.

I really loved the film. Having no story to compare it to, I didn't feel like I had to have read the book to understand the story. Nothing felt missing or incomplete. I came out of the theater ready to add this list to my favorites, and wanting to read the book to compare it to the movie.

My boyfriend also thought the film was great. He said they did a great job adapting the book to film, and although not everything was there, they did the best that they could with the time they had, and he was impressed.

My friend was so excited throughout the movie, he kept wanting to talk to us about it. He pointed out some things from the book that weren't there as well, but he understood it couldn't all be there. He also said that watching the film put a new perspective for him on the movie, since he imagined things looking and feeling different in his head. Seeing the movie allowed him to look at it differently, which made it exciting all over again.

So, in summary, this seems to be a great movie no matter how deep you are into the Da Vinci Code. I normally wait for movies to go on DVD to rent, but this is one that I'd recommend you see in the theater... the atmosphere makes it more fun and also you can talk about this with others after seeing it, instead of catching up to everyone later and possibly getting spoilers before you watch. Again, I highly recommend this movie! A+
1,336 out of 2,383 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Listless, Pointless, Dull and far Worse than I had Imagined!
Michael-7014 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
By the halfway point, I had this film in my liked column, but then it just went on and on and on, in fact, even though I have left the theater, I still think the film is running. This is a thriller with no thrills, an intellectual mystery with no mystery or intellect. It posits a mystery 2000 years old and feels like it was filmed in real time.

Who is Robert Langdon, the hero played by Tom Hanks? I get no feeling for anything about the guy, his claustrophobia is presented as being important, but it is an uninteresting embellishment and is clearly not important to the story.

The whole story for the film reduces to. . .well, I don't know what it reduces to? I seemed to just be watching pretentious people running around on fool's errands. This is not always a problem in a movie, no one can adequately explain The Big Sleep and I defy anyone to clearly tell me what happens in the recent Russian film Night Watch, but those films have a surfeit of characters that make the twists and turns interesting to follow. Not to mention a wonderful visual strategy that makes them breath. The Da Vinci Code is a suffocating film that does the impossible; it makes the Louvre look boring.

I was puzzled by the casting. With all American Tom Hanks on board and the French Audrey Tautou, the German Jurgen Prochnow and the competent Brits: Alfred Molina, Paul Bettany, and Ian McKellen, we have a Chinese dinner approach to casting "one from column A and one from column B", but this cast doesn't gel.

They each do their little bits, but the whole does not add up to more than the parts. There were too many little things that rankled me or anyone with half a brain. The Louvre is filmed so blandly, that it doesn't really matter that they really used the real place for a location. Also, the Louvre does not have steel gates that come down when a painting is removed from the wall. Also, Tautou introduces herself as a "French Police Cryptologist". French Police Cryptologist? The French have a national police? The Louvre wouldn't be in the Paris police jurisdiction? Does your city have a staff cryptologist on its police force? Too many ludicrous things happen that made me ask questions while it is happening, not after it's all done when you would get the Hitchcock "refrigerator moment". I can take religious hooey, but I can't take scientific hooey. Even the car chases are uninteresting, and badly filmed.

One more thing, if I am ever shot and have to leave a clue to the identity of my killer, I will write that he was an albino monk in a cassock with a cell phone and an automatic. There can't be that many running around, even in Paris.
114 out of 230 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Rewriting Layers
tedg28 May 2006
Okay, let's get this straight. The most heavily promoted movie in history, and one that deals with sublime organization and submersion in art. The story that touches on many of the greatest minds we know and refers to many greater we do not. The myth that in different threads captivates hundreds of millions...

All that is contained in something less competent than your average cereal commercial? "Hudson Hawk" was leagues better. Or if you are afraid of humor in religion, "Baby of Macon."

Well, let's pass on kicking Ron Howard when he's down. (I already kicked him hard when he was up: "Beautiful Mind" drove me nuts with its similar mismatch of grace in what the subject was and how it was displayed.)

Instead, let's wonder a bit about why such a story in both book and movie form has been so popular in spite of multiple incompetences: from bad history to bad writing in several forms to brutally mundane cinema.

We live in stories, we write our own, usually borrowing one and some of the eager lenders are religions. That's because we like manifold stories. We spin our own, but we like that there are hidden forces somewhere that spin their own stories which trump ours at certain points. Noir, depends on that notion. Greek theater. So we spin a personal story that has a greater writer in it.

The full modern expression of this isn't content with just two threads, the personal and divine, we modern folk like to have a whole spectrum of forces, layered demigods in between us and the supreme machine of fate.

We often cast these as conspiracies. In movies, we see them as detective or con stories, depending on which side of the eye they place us to start. Sometimes they have demons, vampires or ghosts as the in-between manipulators. But the purest form I suppose has the simple noir hero at the bottom, God at the top and several of God's conspiratorial institutions in between, all rewriting each other at all levels.

So Dan Brown, I congratulate you for stumbling upon a pure form and knowing enough to copy it. And shuffling it among scholars, collectors, policemen, moles, and various religious clubs.

Some day, someone really will write this form the way it deserves. Until then, this will stand as comically overpromised as the French military wisdom and competence which is implicit here.

David Mamet often makes trite movies, but he has a tenet worth following. Never have a character explain things. If you do, you have left your cinematic story. Show, drive the narrative in the story rather than explain. That's what kills this here.

Ron Howard. Okay, kick.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
15 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Misunderstood movie
Superunknovvn24 May 2006
As Tom Hanks explained, "The Da Vinci Code" isn't a serious claim that catholicism is all made up through some dark conspiracy. It's merely a fun popcorn movie that's pointing out some interesting facts and intrigues with weird theories. A lot of people took it all way too seriously, when "The Da Vinci Code" is really only supposed to be entertaining. Then there's been talk that audiences at Cannes laughed at the movie's climax and thought it was ridiculous. Well, that's hardly Ron Howard's fault, is it? He could only stick to the existing novel. What did you expect? If you don't like the book, you're going to despise the movie even more.

Now, that we've gotten this out of the way, let's talk about "The Da Vinci Code" as the nice little thriller it is. The movie has its shortcomings, that's undeniable. Even if you haven't read the book you'll notice that things seem a bit rushed. Screenwriters must have had a hard time cramming the most important facts of this rather thick novel into a movie with only 150 minutes running time. Most of the time characters blabber as if they had swallowed a lexicon. The whole cast does the best job possible, but lines like those can't be delivered naturally. Especially in the beginning the movie is slowed down by this blabbering until you are used to it and accept it.

And yes, one has to say that the story is pretty unbelievable and almost laughable at times. It's not even hard to figure out the ending about half way through. Still, there are other movies in this genre that are a lot worse and just as far fetched (some John Grisham flicks come to mind). The problem is that people have been so hyped up, they expect something HUGE and exceptional, which this movie wasn't aimed for in the first place. If you just accept the fact, that this is not going to change your perception of life, then you're in for a very thrilling ride. Two and a half hours of pleasant entertainment, that's all there is to it.

There's nothing special about "The Da Vinci Code": not the acting, not the story, certainly not the direction. If you hope for something mind blowing, you're searching in the wrong place. If you're offended by the movie's conspiracy theories, you're no better than Islamic fundamentalist threatening with violence because of some meaningless Mohammed cartoons. If none of this applies, you should have a good time with this motion picture.
17 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Enough with the religious debate. It's still a good movie.
lee_eisenberg27 May 2006
In the three years since it's publication, "The Da Vinci Code" has of course gained a cult following and has finally arrived on the silver screen. I will admit that there are some scenes from the book that the movie omitted due to time constraints, but the movie overall does a very good job. We might expect a Ron Howard movie to tug at our emotions, but this one does no such thing. It blows your mind as much as the novel does.

And then there's the characters. As Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, trying to expose a 2,000-year-old religious cover-up, Tom Hanks makes the most of his role, even with that weird hairdo. As Det. Sophie Neveu, trying to find out what was behind a certain murder, Audrey Tautou plays with the audience: she looks sweet, but this woman can gravitate between nice and acerbic. As Sir Leigh Teabing, Ian McKellen does as great a job as we can anticipate from a famous British actor. As Capt. Bezu Fache, Jean Reno is as good as always. Also starring are Alfred Molina as Cardinal Aringarosa, Paul Bettany as Silas, and Jurgen Prochnow as Andre Vernet, all doing a very good job.

Does the movie have any problems? Well, there seems to be a lot of running around, so you wonder how much that adds to the story. Also, I don't know whether or not this counts, but there's the possibility that the presence of someone like Tom Hanks distracts from the plot. And one has to wonder whether Audrey Tautou is there mostly for looks. What about the probability that this story is pretty unlikely? Maybe, But overall, I don't think that these factors subtract from the movie's quality. I really liked "TDVC", and I'm sure that you will. As long as we understand that this is a movie - albeit one that really gives us something to think about - then it's all good.

So what do YOU think that the Mona Lisa means?
11 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great film!
caslater-607561 May 2021
I realize that this probably isn't your every-day film, but I find it intriguing. The multiple uses of symbols throughout history is also very interesting. I should probably research more into this, but I don't have that kind of time right now. All that aside, I really like Tom Hanks in this film.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A major disappointment......
Screen-Space17 May 2006
Screened overnight for Australian media.

Four words - wrong star, wrong director.

Hanks and Howards best work, both together or separately, have been when they embrace intrinsically American values in their films. All their most memorable movies have involved individuals overcoming hardship through an unshakable belief in love and courage, usually set against an outwardly US-centric interpretation of events. Think Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Cinderella Man, Saving Private Ryan - all fine films, all centred on an American hero rising above their circumstance.

What is conspicuously absent from either man's resume is a European-set, religious-themed mystery thriller. Having sat through their arduous, laborious adaptation of Dan Brown's novel, I can now see why.

The plot is total bunkum - a hodgepodge of "what ifs" and "oh my god" moments spun on the ludicrous premise that Leonardo Da Vinci had some sort of insight into the life of Christ - but loopy story lines have not stopped many films from being enjoyable.

What makes The Da Vinci Code so deathly dull is the heavy-handed, oh-so-serious approach Howard applies to the material. Combining with his cinematographer to give the film a sleepy nocturnal feel (not so clever given the 150min running time), Howard's film is just a constant flow of expository clues that fail to create any tension or engender his leads with any human qualities. Even for those that haven't read the book, a couple of obligatory 'big twists' in the story are very obvious from early-on.

Hanks (looking more like Jim Belushi than ever) and McKellen blather on and on and on about knights and saints and symbols and God as if they were giving a lecture at some Ivy-league school for the supernatural; Audrey Tautou is lovely but has little to do in a role that is plot- not character-driven. Jean Reno ambles thru another of his token French cop parts (he was better in the Pink Panther); Paul Bettany's evil albino Silas at least got some audience reaction, though giggles and guffaws were probably not what he was hoping for.

Whatever sense of fun and excitement the book provided is fully-drained from this adaptation. Come credit time, I had the realisation that all this hokey, airport-novel religious hooey and B-movie plotting would've made for a great X-files episode in that series heyday. As the end-product of a publishing phenomenon and carrying the tag "Years Most-Anticipated", its a boring dud.
388 out of 785 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I thought this was a really good film, very much like 'National Treasure'
Movieguy_blogs_com24 May 2006
In 'The Da Vinci Code' Tom Hanks plays Robert Langdon, a professor who is an expert in religious and cultural symbolism. He is approached by Captain Fache (Jean Reno) who asks his assistance in solving a murder case in France. But Langdon finds that this is much bigger than a murder case and that his own life is in danger. He could be instrumental in revealing the biggest cover-up in human history.

I thought this was a really good film, very much like 'National Treasure'. This is a much more serious movie based upon the best-selling book by Dan Brown. I am told that the movie is quite different than the book. About half the people I know who read the book did not like it.

I did not read the book, but watching the movie makes me want to read it. There is detail in the movie that is hard to absorb in one sitting. I particularly liked Paul Bettany as Silas the albino monk, everyone seems to agree that his portrayal was very good.
46 out of 91 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Much ado about blah
Jay_Exiomo20 May 2006
I won't get much into the theological and historical aspects of either the novel or the film "The Da Vinci Code" because basically, I'd just ramble and would end nowhere. But one thing's clear: the tremendous calls for boycott and banning of the film in our country, the Philippines, isn't really necessary as the film version barely makes the claims of the book any more credible.

With Dan Brown's best-selling novel becoming a worldwide phenomenon, tremendous expectations abound, so it seems natural for director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman to feel a great pressure to transfer a faithful adaptation to the big screen. They did remain faithful, but as with other book-to-film adaptations, you can only include so much and still leave a lot lying on the cutting room floor. This film is essentially a crash course of the novel where everything feels so rushed and we don't really care about the characters. I have read the novel almost two years ago (and subsequently, I've read two books that try to refute the "lies" fabricated by Dan Brown). I found the book pedestrian at best, nonetheless a real page-turner. The movie is a three-hour dull exposition that not even the chase scenes can't manage to save.

You probably know the plot as much as anyone else, but here goes: Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is a Harvard Religious Symbology professor who is called upon by the French police after the curator of the Louvre has been murdered, leaving with him clues to centuries-old secrets supposedly hidden by Leonardo Da Vinci in some of his works. These messages are said to be so powerful it can shake the foundations of Christianity. Together with a French cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tatou), they try to figure out the clues while running from the French police across the streets of France to the Rosslyn Chapel to the Westminster Abbey.

The film certainly tantalizes us with an intriguing beginning and an engaging final act, however. We first see the murder at the Louvre. Soon after we meet Langdon and he's called while signing books (in the novel, he was called in his hotel in the dead of the night). He's then thrust into a labyrinthine of puzzles and clues, into Goldsman's soggy exposition that never really trying to flesh out any of the characters for the sake of fitting as much subplots of the book as possible. It might have worked as a miniseries or, heck, even as a two-part movie. But here, the pacing of the story is very uneven.

After their pairing for the Academy Award-winning film "A Beautiful Mind," many were waiting for Howard and Goldsman to bring a sense of thrill to the story. "The Da Vinci Code" contains flat, yet likable characters and a rich palette of lush, inventive puzzles. Unfortunately, the film lacks that edge. It's missing the thrilling elements of Brown's novel. Howard does weave some memorable scenes, but the sum is much less than each individual part.

The film does end by asking one important question about faith that somehow was never addressed in the book. Unfortunately the film overall lacks depth to fully substantiate its thesis. There isn't really an emotional thrust to the mystery because we don't know enough about the leads. It lacks a solid foundation altogether. The screenplay spends so much time in placing the characters from one puzzle to puzzle with not much excitement and too much arbitrary exposition to say (though it does seem fun to see Ian McKellen do that lecture). The chase scenes aren't adrenaline-pumping either. And then we're given with grainy flashbacks of the early Christians, the Knights Templar, etc. The novel has all the pages to expound on that; the movie has just two and a half hours.

Despite that, I don't think it would diminish the anticipation for the film. I saw this film a couple of nights ago in Thailand and the theater was fully-packed (most of them were Europeans). "The Da Vinci Code" is sure to be an altogether different experience, especially if one has read the book. And those who are not willing to "compromise" their faith for the movie's worth may not be enticed the same way as those who are. Then again, in the greater scheme of things, there's no need for a boycott. Whatever controversial message the film tries to say, it does so unconvincingly.
43 out of 87 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed