Friday, May 19, 2006
THE DA VINCI CODE: Excitingly Thought-Provoking
By Reymundo Salao
When symbologist Professor Robert Langdon was summoned to investigate a murder in the Louvre along with police cryptologist Sophie Neveu aiding him, the clues lead to a shocking conspiracy that would shake the very foundations of the Catholic Church.
THE DA VINCI CODE is the film adaptation of the controversial novel by Dan Brown which has caused quite a controversy of a massive worldwide scale, particularly, in the Christian community, resulting in the uprising of abhorrence towards the film, calling for a ban on it, and in fact resulted to the standing ban for the showing of the film in the city of Manila's (not the entirety of Metro Manila) movie theaters. Why are they against the film that much? It is because the film presents the idea that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene. Whether this revelation is fact as backed up by concrete evidence is highly debatable. What is indeed thought provoking is the compelling information it presents.
But inasmuch as the controversy and the hype that surrounds this movie is due to its supposed "scandallous" revelations, I have found that the storyline isn’t at all offensive to Christianism. As far as matters of opinion and points-of-view are concerned, the movie is not one-sided and spotlights both opinions with a well-balanced presentation of the dual interpretations of the "evidences" presented. There is still that respect for both sides of opinion. Ultimately, it leaves the viewers with a free-thinking choice of digesting it either as informative fact, or a thrilling story of fiction.
I wouldn’t have thought that I would be as thrilled watching this movie as expected. This film is directed by Ron Howard, who's known for his directorial work in films like Cinderella Man and A Beautiful Mind. Howard is one of those directors whom I treat as one of the forgettable reputed directors. His style has always been clean, but plain. Regardless of that plain factor that sometimes has a danger of stepping into mediocrity, his work on The Da Vinci Code succeeds in indeed keeping the film up to its thrilling, thought-provoking pace. The film smartly avoids dull moments and tends to get exciting as each step is taken. From the flashback scenes, to the mood setting, the film is well-executed. The film boasts a top-notch cast of reputed performers. Tom Hanks impressively played Robert Langdon as the believable hero that he is. The enchantingly beautiful Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu was marvelous in her role. Ian McKellen was adorable as the cunning Sir Leigh Teabing, and Alfred Molina is fitting as the shadowy Bishop Aringosa, same with Jean Reno as the determined Bezu Fache. It is said that when Dan Brown wrote the character of Bezu with Jean Reno in mind. But it is Paul Bettany as the Opus Dei assassin Silas who strikes as the character that draws much attention from the audience. His portrayal of an assassin who is considered by his allies as God's soldier is menacingly cool. His very lethal facial expression alone gives an unsettling effect, the kind that reminds me of Darth Maul.
I really don’t know what the big deal is with all the oppositions against this movie/book, but its story never shook my faith as a Christian one bit.
The problem is not with the movie, but with the movie-going audience who may confuse fact with fiction. In our cultural history, movies have become very influential in terms of perception of truth. Movies may influence public opinion, particularly, if it is a movie that has gained popularity. And where did The Da Vinci Code gain its popularity? Ironically, from those who seek to ban it. This movie has become so sensationalized by its opponents, to the point that their fuss has created a wide interest and curiosity for the film. Even among friends and co-workers who rarely watch movies, have been seduced by the curiosity to watch the film.
Whether the issues discussed in The Da Vinci Code may be factual or not should be a separate issue with how good the movie is. Fact or not, it is still a movie, based on a book of fiction. And it is a great thrilling tale of fiction. Perhaps those who are against this movie are afraid of having to delve into the ideas and ask the questions about what may lie in history, about which story would be truth? I enjoyed the film; I have found the issues it presents are discussion-worthy and indeed thought-provoking. The film does not offend me because I am confidently secure with my faith as a Christian.