| The Da Vinci Code (2006) |
American religious symbology expert, Dr. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is summoned to the Louvre by the French police. It turns out that he is the #1 suspect in the murder of a historian he was to meet with. He and a French cryptographer must decipher a chain of cryptic codes and puzzles, while evading the police in a chase through the Louvre, through Paris, and finally to England. Clues in Da Vinci paintings lead to a mystery and a mysterious society (The Priory of Sion), which could shake the foundations of Christianity.
The basis of this movie is a novel of the same name, by Dan Brown. Dan became a fan of an earlier book "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" and embellished the story even further. According to Dan, Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had a child, but the Catholic Church suppressed this information over the past 2000 years.
It is important to realize that these novels involve a fair amount of imagination and speculation. A television program called "The Real Da Vinci Code" claims to debunk most of the material in the novel. According to this program, the Priory of Sion is an obvious hoax perpetrated by three Frenchmen, and Da Vinci liked to paint certain men in a very effeminate way, because he appreciated the look of young men. However it did confirm that scrolls have been discovered indicating that Mary Magdalene played a much greater role (as a full disciple) than we have been lead to believe.
On the face of it, we have a good mystery thriller. Car chases, narrow escapes, and constant plot twists keep the story lively. Often characters turn out to be very different than what we are initially led to believe and there are plenty of bad guys.
All of that sounds potentially amazing, but there were a few drawbacks. Early on, we see a naked guy hurting himself, and blood is leaking out here and there. To me, that is not entertainment. It is just an unpleasant thing to watch.
I was able to follow the plot twists through most of the movie, but near the end it all seemed to jumble together. It no longer made sense and I did not care enough to try to sort it out. My wife did not know either and she read the book!
Also, much of the dialog in the middle of the film seemed more like contrived moralizing speeches of dubious merit, rather than natural conversation.
But overall it was pretty good and even clever in places. If you like fast paced mystery thrillers, then this one is worth seeing. Just remember that most of "facts" and theories presented are biased, fabricated or based on the fabrications of others.
The Politics of "The Da Vinci Code":
Clearly the film is anti-Catholic and perhaps even anti-Christian. In the forums of other boards, the Christian-haters are out in full force. A fairly typical message was titled "Can someone be intelligent and religious?"
The anti-male message was more insidious. Except for the hero, all the male characters were evil. Both of the female characters were portrayed as morally good.
Christian history has been revised to read like a Women's Studies textbook. It seems that men through history have fought and died just to ensure that Mary Magdalene (and other upstart women) can be denied their rightful place. The film paints a picture of men singularly obsessed with the goal of oppressing women.
The theory that the murder of witches was an expression of hatred against women ignores the fact that at least one quarter of the murdered witches were men. If the Catholic Church hates women so much, why is Mary, the mother of Jesus, so revered and immortalized with countess sympathetic statues of her? She is set nearly as high as Jesus Christ.
The message seemed to be that female aspects of Christianity were good, while male aspects were bad. While the phrase "sacred female" was slotted into various points in the movie, the general tenor of the film would have made the phrase "sacred male" sound bizarre.
If Jesus had married and had a daughter, how would that threaten Christianity? That was the central idea of the book and the movie, yet it was never explained.
- Reviewed by Paul G.