out of Five
Running time: 145
The Da Vinci Code has its moments, but it's unforgivably dull in places and frequently both poorly directed and laughably silly.
What's it all about?
Directed by Ron Howard and based on the phenomenally bestselling thriller by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code stars Tom Hanks as Professor Robert Langdon, a famed symbologist who is drawn into a web of mystery after a murder at the Louvre.
Rapidly framed for the very murder he was asked to investigate, Langdon's only ally is pretty police cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Amelie
Tautou). Together they must unravel the clues and solve the mystery of the Holy Grail, whilst eluding the clutches of a dogged French cop (Jean Reno), a sinister Opus Dei priest (Alfred Molina) and a self-flagellating murderous albino monk (Paul Bettany).
Ron Howard undoubtedly has his strengths as a director but the staging of action scenes is not one of them. One car chase in particular should have been brilliant (as The Bourne Identity showed they can be) but instead just looks ridiculous.
The script is shockingly bad, frequently over-explaining things (with the help of cheesy History Channel-style flashbacks, no less) and throwing up the occasional laughably bad line. It's also unforgivably dull in places and at least half an hour too long, thanks to a dull finale.
Fortunately, the actors give it their best shot. Paul Bettany really throws himself into the whole self-flagellation lark and actually manages to generate some sympathy for what's basically a pantomime villain part. Similarly, Ian McKellen has a terrific time as eccentric academic Leigh Teabing.
Tautou adds a certain je ne sais quois, but Hanks is pretty much on autopilot and allows his awful wig to do the acting for him.
If you're a fan of the book you'll probably be disappointed, although it's worth checking out if you've been wondering what all the fuss is about.
The Da Vinci Code (12A)