The makers of The Da Vinci Code have been saying for some time now that their film is not supposed to be taken all that seriously. It's not history, and it's not theology, director Ron Howard has said; instead, it's just a rollicking good bit of entertainment. And leading man Tom Hanks has said it's loaded "with all sorts of hooey and fun kind of scavenger-hunt-type nonsense," calling the story "a lot of fun."
If only they had taken their own advice. Dan Brown's novel may be the product of extremely sloppy historical study, but even many of the book's critics have admitted that it is a "page-turner," an exciting yarn that carries the reader off on a semi-clever, fast-paced ride. The film, on the other hand, is a dull and plodding bore, and it takes itself far, far too seriously.
For those who have not yet read the book or any summaries thereof, the story begins with an albino monk named Silas (Paul Bettany) shooting Jacques Sauniere (Jean-Pierre Marielle), the curator of the Louvre museum in Paris. In his dying moments, Sauniere strips off his clothes, cuts a symbol into his own flesh, and scrawls some cryptic messages in invisible ink in various places around the museum. Police chief Bezu Fache (Jean Reno) summons Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), an expert on symbols, to the Louvre and comes to believe that Langdon might be the killer—but while he is plotting to arrest Langdon, Sauniere's granddaughter Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), herself a police officer, helps Langdon to escape. Langdon and Sophie then run all over France and, eventually, England, dodging the police while solving the coded puzzles that Sauniere left behind—puzzles which lead to a secret society that claims everything Christians believe is a lie. ...1