Stop me if you've heard this one before: when a curator at the Louvre is murdered, it's up to grumpy professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and perky cryptologist Sophie Neveau (Audrey Tautou) to solve the mystery. Following a byzantine trail of clues, they gradually uncover a massive religious conspiracy. Yes, it's The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's hungry monster of a bestseller, adapted for the silver screen complete with albino monks and cranky French detectives. And frankly, it's a stinker.
It is a truism that good books make bad films, and vice versa. By that reckoning, Da Vinci ought to be an excellent film, since the prose is awful and the plot is tremendous. But something has gone badly wrong. For all the prestige production values and A-list stars, The Da Vinci Code is practically catatonic. It just lies there on the screen like a $100 million mattress. The script is bad. The acting is bad. Tautou is very, very bad, and clearly uncomfortable. Hanks looks and performs like a lump of dough in a wig.
"THE WHOLE THING GOES ON FOR HOURS AND HOURS"
The plotting, which seemed endearingly silly on the page, is snortingly preposterous on screen: our heroes tumble po-faced from peril to peril with insane regularity. At one point, they get saved by a pigeon. Director Ron Howard relentlessly patronises his audience with CGI flashbacks to The World Of Ancient History, and the whole thing goes on for hours and hours. An extra star is earned by Paul Bettany and Ian McKellen (as the nutty monk and the wealthy fruitcake respectively), who somehow manage to keep the film from lurching completely to a halt.