Skip to main content

Movie Critic Article: The Da Vinci Code

Umberto Eco- "I was obliged to read it because everybody was asking me about it. My answer is that Dan Brown is one of the characters in my novel Foucault’s Pendulum, which is about people who start believing in occult stuff."
Editor- But you yourself seem interested in the kabbalah, alchemy and other occult practices explored in the novel.
Umberto Eco- "No. In Foucault’s Pendulum I wrote the grotesque representation of these kind of people. So Dan Brown is one of my creatures."

Umberto Eco

Are you initiated?
If not, do not watch this movie! It will appear dull to you whereas it is only dim! The perceived dullness is due to the fractional differences between the large number of codes, the Fibonacci numbers, and our average ability to assimilate information.
It might occur to you that parts of this movie were shot in Paris, the City of Light! But all you can see is dark and UnParisly! But dimness becomes conspiracies!

To be initiated on the immense subject matter of this movie, you don't have to read the novel "The Da Vinci Code" on which it is based, although it is a pleasure to read the novel. All you need to watch it, is to brace yourself up for the impact of one hell of a secret allegedly revealed by author Dan Brown.
Here are some points to help you prepare for the revelation of the greatest of secrets.

  • The movie is about secret societies and their preferred fodder. Symbols and codes!
  • Jesus Christ, according to the movie, didn't walk around as divine! Divinity was bestowed upon him three hundred years later than his time by one Roman emperor.
  • Mary Magdalene was the real divinity, not Jesus. She is the Holy Grail which is a metaphor for “woman” and represents the ancient goddess and the “sacred feminine.”
  • Jesus wanted Mary Magdalene to lead the church after his death.
  • As things turned ugly, Mary Magdalene escaped to France and gave birth to Sarah.
  • The Catholic Church naturally wants to destroy all evidence in order to “rewrite history.”
  • The Knights Templar was a secret society formed by The Priory of Zion (another secret society) to preserve documents of proof and to protect Mary's tomb. 
  • The Priory of Zion worships Mary Magdalene as “the Goddess, the Holy Grail, the Rose, and the Divine Mother.”  
All you need now is? Documents and may be some bones!

The novel "The Da Vinci Code" was written in such a way that the script writer is literally left with nothing to re-script! I have read it years ago and it amazes me now how instantly my memory of the book scenes is summoned by the movie. Like a planned dejavu! Yet, I did have problems with the last part of the novel and for a while unlimited, I thought it was an attempt to out-author Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose) in this genre of fictional novels which border on the historical. I learned that "The Da Vinci Code" resembled more another work by Eco called "Foucault's Pendulum."

The Movie Story Line:

"The murder of a curator at the Louvre reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected since the days of Christ. Only the victim's granddaughter and Robert Langdon, a famed symbologist, can untangle the clues the victim left behind. The duo become both suspects and detectives searching for not only the murderer but also the stunning secret of the ages the murdered curator was charged to protect." Conflict with Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic group determined to keep the secret hidden forever amounts to chases and murders. Jean Reno, as Captain Fache, reminds one of better chases. Of "Ronin." The street shots with Sophie driving in reverse must have been the filmmakers awkward way of saying," Yeah it has to look like Paris!"
"The Da Vinci Code" is visually nice to see, despite the campaign by many critics to abort it on grounds other than art and literature. It is a bad thing to dispose of a work of art on theological basis. But in spite of the wave of hate against novelist Dan Brown and the filmmaker Ron Howard, the movie managed to succeed. It was, a few years ago, second only to the novel in terms of revenue.

The exciting nature of the story told in the movie is not everything. Ron Howard (Oscar, Beautiful Mind) is a filmmaker to reckon with. I liked the smooth camera movement, the non-conventional editing and even those CGI flashbacks of past atrocities, are real cinematic art endowed with a magical sense. To that, two solid performances by Sir Ian McKellen (as Teabing) and Paul Bettany (as Silas) sealed the movie's success. I was astonished by the uninterested way of acting shown by Tom Hanks. He is both disinterested and uninteresting in this role. Does he want us to take this as how arrogant professors behave? He also looked so tired. One thing that does not favor the building of a charismatic movie character is to  show him/her as having a chronic disease! I don't believe James Bond was diabetic or kleptomaniac, so what the point of letting us know that our would-be hero, Robert Langdon, is claustrophobic? But of course there is good chemistry between Howard and Hanks.

Shot on location in France and England in total secrecy,  I believe the movie is a lot better than the book. It is the third collaboration of its maker Ron Howard with actor Tom Hanks. They did Splash and Apollo 13. Hanks, here, is Robert Langdon, the Harvard professor of Symbology whose specialty is finding and solving (or interpreting) codes and symbols.

Enter Da Vinci

Catholic authorities have many articles on the web in response to what the book and the movie had to say. Most of these writings refer to a conspiratorial fashion by which allegedly privileged information is being passed down through history. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was allegedly the head of The Priory of Zion at one time. He and the other members were the keepers of this privileged information. Da Vinci is thought to have coded his famous paintings "The Last Supper" and "The Mona Lisa" with secrets and esoteric messages. The book and the movie "The Da Vinci Code" revolve around this contention that Da Vinci's paintings are full of symbolic allusions to a secret claimed to have been preserved by the remaining Knights Templar, the militant arm of the Priory of Zion who were killed off by the church in the middle ages.
Other codes related to Da Vinci are the subject of on-going research in real life. The anti-women claim is apparently very plausible. In his "The Last Supper" Christ according to Da Vinci and other protectors of Mary's heritage had seated on his right hand Mary Magdalene and not St. Paul as per common replicas.
Patriarchs are historically accused of " of deleting all references to a possible influence of women in Jesus' life."There are many references to the other apostles being jealous of Mary Magdalene, even quotations about her kissing Jesus on the lips and being closer to Jesus. All of this misrepresentation even led the church to label Mary Magdalene a prostitute, which they did finally deny in recent years."
The DaVinci codes also claim that the early church fathers rewrote history as late as 400 years after Christ, to suit their purposes. The church insists that the four gospels were established during Jesus's life and long before the secret meetings that took place in the fourth century.
Nevertheless, the Da Vinci code or codes have become engendered in popular cultural and will always inspire works of art or literature. Both the book and the movie are promoted as encouraging to open thinking by enlightened believers and to the exercise of good-natured human exchange as is expressed in these great words by Lily Tomlin (borrowed from another source): "The mind is like a parachute; it only works when it is open."

Director Ron Howard

The Da Vinci Code (2006) 149 min.

Mystery/thriller. 13+
Writers: Dan Brown (Novel) and Akiva Goldsman (Script.)
Directed by Ron Howard
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Editor: Dan Hanley
Producer: Brian Grazer (Beautiful Mind) et al.
The Cast:
Robert Langdon - Tom Hanks
Sophie Neveu - Audrey Tautou
Sir Leigh Teabing - Ian McKellen
Capt. Bezu Fache - Jean Reno
Silas - Paul Bettany
Bishop Aringarosa - Alfred Molina

Now that you have been exhausted by codes, pinnacles, Vs and inverted Vs, pentagrams and vitruvian man (what is that?) you can treat yourself to a good high with this car chase! Speaking of Jean Reno:


  1. I like it, history is not more than yesterday in other words what we live is actually a sort of creative view to the past, the movie was great and the novel is full of themes that can make many more movies and that depends on how we read it.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

سؤال الضهبان

سؤال الضهبان
لا تظنن أنه سؤال هيّن! أو عليك أن تتأكد أن السائل لم يعد ضهبان. وحتى في هذه الحالة ربما لم يجد الجواب ولكنه فقط تحوّل من (الضهب) إلى حالة أحسن نسبياً ودون تفسير. أي سؤال هو ليس بالهيّن. وأي سؤال هو لم يُسأل عبثاً ولهوا. زي، يلاقيك زول ويسأل: كيف اصبحت؟ تجربة وجودية عديل كدا. طيب تعال شوف كمية التزوير في الجواب! طبعاً مافي زول بيجاوب على السؤال دا بالضبط كدا. كلنا تقريبين في السؤال دا وفي غيره من اسئلة كثيرة. الجواب هو المصطنع في أغلب الأحوال وليس السؤال! ياخي حتى السؤال الغبي، الواحد بيتمرمط أمامه. لذلك سؤال الضهبان دا هو موئل الغناء والشعر الكاذب والبطولات! ومن الناس من يحاول أن يغشك! إنهم أهل الاجابات الذين تتكوّر ذواتهم في نهايات الأسطر، مدلهّمة. نقطة سطر جديد! - هوي انت هه! يعني شايل ليك اجابة كدا وفرحان بيها، قايل السؤال مات!؟ دعني أقول لك: جميع الأسئلة التي سمعت والتي لم تسمع بها، جميعها تتمتع بخلود مطلق! السؤال فيهو حيوية والاجابة ديمة نايصة. السؤال بيخلع وجامد. الجواب هو ختة النَفَس، التقية من عصف المشاعر. السؤال، أي سؤال، فيهو قوة، فيهو شواظ وبيطقطق زي قندول عيش ريف معذّب. الاج…

جليد نساي، المقال كامللاً

جليد نسّاي
قراءة في رواية الرجل الخراب
تأليف عبد العزيز بركة ساكن بقلم مصطفى مدثر
الجزء الأول

أيها القارئ المرائي، يا شبيهي، يا أخي - بودلير، شاعر فرنسي الفكرة الرئيسة [عند إليوت] هي أننا، حتى ونحن ملزمون بأن نعي ماضوية الماضي..، لا نملك طريقة عادلة لحجر الماضي عن الحاضر. إن الماضي والحاضر متفاعمان، كلٌ يشي بالآخر ويوحي به، وبالمعنى المثالي كلياً الذي ينتويه إليوت ، فإن كلاً منهما يتعايش مع الآخر. ما يقترحه ت س  إليوت بإيجاز هو رؤيا للتراث الأدبي لا يوجهها كلياً التعاقب الزمني، رغم أنها تحترم هذا التعاقب. لا الماضي ولا الحاضر، ولا أي شاعر أو فنان، يملك معنىً كاملاً منفرداً- إدوارد سعيد، أستاذ الأدب الإنجليزي الطريق إلى الحقيقة يمر بأرض الوساوس - شانون برودي، عاملة صيدلية.

يبدو مفارقاً، بل غرائبياً، أن تُهرع  لقصيدة ت س إليوت (الأرض الخراب) كي تعينك على فهم استلهام عبد العزيز بركة ساكن لها في كتابة روايته القصيرة، الرجل الخراب. فالمفارقة هي أن القصيدة المكتوبة في 1922، وبما عُرف عنها من تعقيد ووعورة، تحتاج هي نفسها لعشرات الشروحات، لكونها مغرقة في الإحالات لتواريخ وثقافات وأديان، بل ولغات أ…

MovieGlobe: Japan's Version of Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet (2007) JapanOriginal Article by: Fateh Mirghani-Japan

I have just finished watching the masterpiece of Shakespeare” Romeo and Juliet “in its Japanese version.
The quality of the movie is great and the soundtrack, injected with a little Japanese folklore music, has given it a sensational dimension and Eastern fascination!
Basically, the theme of the movie remains the same as the original play, and that has been a particular Japanese notion in dealing with other nations’ cultural products. Part of the reason may lay in Japan's sensitivity to other nations’cultural products- given the long standing historical disputes with its neighbours, and part of it may lay in a fierce sense of homogeneity that has come to characterize Japan as an island nation-state since time immemorial. Thus the Japanese, unlike the Americans, don’t seem to have the temerity to ‘Japanize’ others’ cultural stuff. The movie “Renaissance man”  can be cited as an example of American boldness. The …