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When the curator of the Louvre is killed, his last action is to leave hints that point to Robert Langdon, Professor for Symbololology. What Langdon discovers when he comes to analyse the hints is that there is a chase underway: Apparently the Brothers of Zion are trying to track down and possibly destroy what goes as the Holy Grail – and for some reason, Langdon finds himself, together with a French police woman who was the curator’s granddaughter, in the midst if it.

Sometimes one wonders whether Ron Howard was forced to do this film. Maybe he was blackmailed with nude pictures from the Apollo 13 set, or his old buddy Tom Hanks was in trouble with the Tirads (or some religious cult) and coerced him. There is no trace of a filmmaker’s enjoyment in what he is doing to be found. The most obvious this becomes when strange flashbacks into the medieval and pre-Christian times are inserted, that are directed and edited with so little enthusiasm that you wonder whether somebody found this contractual agreement to do at least 4 minutes of flashback per hour of the movie, and they on;ly realised after the last day of shooting, while still suffering the hangover from the closing party.

If you want to make a film out of a book that goes at great lengths to explain historical background, you may want to have a look at how this is done in “The Name of the Rose” – the intelligent re-shuffling into a thrill in a setting gleaming with historical colours. “Da Vinci Code” on the other hand, does not gleam, it is dull, because the script tries to jump from story stone to story stone, but never really constructing the logical link between the steps, not proving how it becomes necessary to rush from here to there. Saying it does not help, there is way too much talking in this anyway (and I watched the extended version – 25 more minutes of inspiring explanations of the self-eplanatory). It is more that the film seems to miss the breathless drive of the book, which was the one factor forgiving rather flat style or characters. And the culmination point if it all, in book and film, is just massively anti-climactic. Ok, that has been resolved, so what? It’s a sledge, she’s a boy… I do not say that I was not entertained at times, but I was glad that I could stop after a couple of hours and continue the next day, that is never a good sign. Sylas the Albino was fun to watch, but then again he was taken out of the action so suddenly and abruptly that I wondered whether he did say something bad on the set, maybe steal some coffee whitener, haha. Alfred Molina as Cardinal was wasted, as they could not decide whether they needed the character or not (they did not), Audrey Tatou did what most French acresses in Hollywood: stand around woth the mouth in gaping position. And Ian McKellen was, let’s say, better as Gandalf. Ah Jean Reno: he who would do anything to become a permanent A-List actor in the US, which only brings him closer to becoming a new Rutger Hauer.

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