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Robert Langdon, Professor for Symbol science, is summoned to Rome, where a group of supposedly ancient religious fanatics has kidnapped four Cardinals and threatens to kill them during the Conclave for finding a new Pope. His expertise in the Illuminati sect allows him to read the hints left on the way, trying to prevent the worst, the destruction of Vatican City.

It is pretty spectacular to see how a book gets not transposed to the screen, but jammed onto it, with bits and pieces of the Dan Brown novel being thrown rather arbitrarily at the actors and the director, with major plot holes and the script authors having the guts to just ridicule them away. Specific example where I had to laugh out loud: you keep wondering for the better part of an hour why the Assassin does not just kill Langdon the way he kills everybody else within a 50 meter radius. And when you decided it’s just a plot device better left unchallenged, the Asassassin actually makes a fool out himself by trying to explain why he did decide not to kill him even though he had the chance so often. The guilty conscience of script doctors ringing, there is no way out but certain foolishness.
The only remarkable thing about the film is the massive accumulation of clichees, about evil German cardinals, cunning Scottish Caramalegos (or whatever his job was called), brave blond security forces, cool Italian speical ops squads – that are too stupid to discover a whole in the wall of the Pope’s Angel’s Castle. A door! They just ignored it, left poor Tom Hanks and that woman all alone in the place where they are sure the plot comes together?!?
Sometimes one should abstain from making a film if it seems impossible to write a script that does not want to make you cry. And a director such as Ron Howard can not make anything interesting and exciting out of this script – after checking his filmography again, I have to assess that he has never made a film that I would call “really good”. The depressing averageness and harmlessness of “Apollo 13” and “A Beautiful Mind” is all there is.
Much more amusing than the film: Kermode’s rant!

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