Dan Brown's controversial work of fiction has angered Christians around the world because it calls into question the divinity of Jesus Christ. But, the key word here is "fiction," and director Ron Howard brings the 2003 mega-hit book to the screen with few changes.
The story opens at night with a murder in The Louvre. The victim is a museum curator and the killer is Silas (Paul Bettany), a weird self-flagellating albino monk.
The man, before dying, crawls to the center of the hall, strips himself naked and draws a large symbol on his chest, leaving a coded message on the floor and on artwork in his own blood. We can see that the premise is ridiculous, how could a dying man accomplish such a feat, but the story isn't what made the film interesting to me, it is where the characters are taken to decipher the clues that are left behind.
The setting of Paris and London at night, filled with beautiful churches and tombs and the chase to find the answers to a 2000 year old mystery before the heroes are caught and stopped is what intrigued me.
A police inspector (Jean Reno) brings in visiting Harvard Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), a symbolist, to look at the body and explain the strange clues. A French cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) joins them, and secretly lets Robert know that he is considered the prime suspect by the inspector, the two then escape into the night and do a little investigating on their own.
Hanks looks the part of a professor with longish hair and a dark suit, but he seems somewhat distracted and not as excited as he should be by the prospect of perhaps uncovering an earth shattering discovery.
On the other hand Ian McKellan who plays Sir Leigh Teabing a historian who Langdon turns to for help in his quest, can hardly conceal his glee during the hunt and he's a joy to watch.
The sometimes confusing tale delves into the Temple Church of London, the Holy Grail, the relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus, the secret cult Opus Dei and a possible cover-up by the Catholic Church. No wonder the church is upset by Mr. Brown's novel, and Ron Howard's refusal to put a disclaimer at the beginning of his film. But, I just put that aside and realized that the core story is preposterous, and at the same time a thrilling mystery filmed in exotic locations. After all, just a fine effective work of fiction!