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030: The Da Vinci Code

Maximilian Rivera October 18, 2016
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by Max Rivera | @MaxRiveraFilm

Premise: A murder inside the Louvre and clues in Da Vinci paintings lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years — which could shake the foundations of Christianity.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 25%

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You’re signing books, doing your thing, when Jean Reno tells you your friend is dead in the Louvre. What do you do? If you’re Robert Langdon, you run away with a French lady while decoding secret messages from Leonardo Da Vinci.

That’s right, we’re talking The Da Vinci Code (2006), rated 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. Starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Paul Bettany, and Ian McKellan, this film is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. Not the fun kind either, the really disorienting kind that might make you sick.

While a financial success for sure, The Da Vinci Code left many critics wanting something more substantial, yet still managed to spawn 2 sequel films. The movie even kept us intrigued for about half of it, but lost us when it became a mix-up of exposition and twists. The real mystery here is why does Langdon only go for pretty brunettes?

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While this film did gangbusters at the theaters, critics panned it for being dull and bloated. By the time we reach the act 2 exposition, it sure is a slog-fest, too. 

However, the film started with premise. I mean, mysterious murders, religious zealots, French cityscapes, and fun car chases —what’s not to love? 

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While the film starts with promise, everything falls apart when Ian McKellan shows up. Such an actor as McKellan can only play someone important — and it’s clear that he will most likely be the unnamed villain driving the action against our heroes. 

The multi-layered plots barely land, and we feel little surprise at the double, maybe triple crossing happening in our final act. Everything comes down to a Hangover-like sequence where Langdon deduces the answer to a big question while staring at statue of Isaac Newton. 

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The Da Vinci Code’s biggest sin is that Robert Langdon is a passenger to Sophie’s story, yet still manages to be considered the protagonist. 

Beyond being wanted by the law, Langdon only reacted to what was happening to Sophie. Our fix would have been to simplify the plot by combining characters. You could have still kept at least one double-cross, but also made your story neater. 

Think we’re way off on this one? Leave us a review on iTunes telling us so! Or send us an email at TheCriticalBreakdownPodcast@gmail.com

Max is a marketing copywriter by day, filmmaker and screenwriter by night. He resides in Charlotte, NC, and loves his dogs, watching movies, building LEGO sets, and eating food. Lots of food.You can find Max at his personal website and twitter.