East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Da Vinci Code: And the lying liars who tell them [movie note]

You didn't think it was going to be good, did you? Some optimists noted the novel's movieness might ease the adaptation, but that movieness is just there to distract you. What sold the book (which I read a page and half of) wasn't plot or characters or, have mercy Lord, good writing, it was the puzzles and conspiracy theories -- uncinematic. The generic thriller stuff just makes it taste less like medicine (and helps avoid one kind of lawsuit).

The movie, unfortunately, tastes like medicine. It's not a travesty -- Hanks and Howard, though hardly thriller guys, are pros enough not to let that happen. But it's dull and rhythmless until Ian McKellan arrives to camp shit up. And even then a strategic compromise fucks with our enjoyment. The filmmakers mollify the Christians: every time McKellan spouts some anticlerical lore, Hanks is obliged to reply "That's just your opinion" or some other relativist claptrap. This is worse than if he simply opposes the theory, 'cuz in that case you can have the oh-my-stars-I-was-a-fool epiphany scene. The crackpot in all of us wants the absolute, wants some visionary to shout "What you think you know is a lie! This is the truth!" What fun is a conspiracy movie if the main character keeps telling us the conspiracy might be a bunch of shit?


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