For anyone who has not read Dan Brown’s popularized work of fiction, The Da Vinci Code, the wild goose chase/Grail quest can be quite confusing and disorienting on screen. Yet, for anyone who has read the novel, the film will most likely play out as a second viewing of the already imagined initial reading. That is to say that, for the most part, all of the players – actors and director alike – succeed in producing a picture that does justice to the text that many have called a nonstop page-turner.
On the night that Jacques Sauniere (Jean-Pierre Marielle), curator of the famous Louvre Museum, is murdered, he leaves a string of ritualized clues behind. These clues are intended for his granddaughter, Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) and religious symbologist, Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks). However, French police Captain Bezu Fache (Jean Reno) suspects Robert Langdon as Sauniere’s killer.
Meanwhile, the actual murderer – an albino named Silas (Paul Bettany), who serves Bishop Aringarosa (Alfred Molina) of the conservative sect Opus Dei – is on the prowl and longing for the very thing that Langdon is striving to reveal. Similarly, once Langdon turns to Holy Grail enthusiast, Lee Teabing (Sir Ian McKellen), more problems seem to arise. With every effort focused on evading the law and cracking the code, Langdon and Neveu are well on their way to uncovering what could be one of Christianity’s most shattering secrets.
Bettany, Molina, Reno, Tautou, Hanks, and most of all McKellen all jell as one of the most impressive ensemble casts of 2006 thus far. Moreover, when you tack on a high-caliber name like Ron Howard as director, you receive a film that is destined to reap the rewards and overcome its substantial budget and high expectations.
As a consequence of the majority’s predisposition to the plot, the story’s twists (if you could call them that) will surely not leave as strong of an impression as hoped for. Likewise, the film may appear to overstay its welcome, in terms of running-time—even though the movie is already an abridged version of the book.