The film, apparently, is now officially a hit. The novel the film was based upon, written by author Dan Brown, continues to dominate the World of Infotainment.
Tom Hanks is unbelievable as a tenured faculty member - too compassionate and not self-absorbed enough. Could he pass for an instructor of a First Year linguistics course? Certainly.
But a highly published scholar? The guy from Forrest Gump? Please.
Ian McKellen gives one of the most lifeless performances I've seen from the actor. And I don't blame McKellen one bit. With a cookie-cutter script like that...
I won't completely trash the flick. It's not bad... if you're paying $4.50 at a Sunday matinee in a small town.
But it's not great, either.
And that's the problem. It's a Trojan horse of a film, lacking substance where there should be substance, rather lacking in terms of cinematic cajones.
Hype. That's the word I'm looking for... all hype.
Audrey Tautou (who portrays the female lead here) is still just as frigging hot as she was in Dirty Pretty Things, Amelie, and just about every other film on her resume.
That's my film review and I'm stickin' to it...
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One of the things the film did do was to get my ol' History of Christendom juices flowing again.
It's been a while since I've thought much about Gnosticism, the various Mary Magdalene cults throughout history, the influence of secretive organizations - Knights Templar, Freemasons, and Opus Dei - on the creation of this behemoth called "Western Civilization."
Seriously. I used to ponder this shit almost daily. The rise of Early Christianity fascinates me - how did a minor cult within Judaism manage to overwhelm the same Roman Empire in only a few short centuries?
It's also been a long time since I took time to ponder the magic and mess Roman emperor Constantine I created, way back in the 300s, three centuries removed from the time when a Galilean tradesman supposedly walked the earth, performed miracles, and was crucified as a traitor to the Roman Empire.
Constantine, as much as that Nazarean rabbi and his followers, deserves credit for building a monotheistic cult into, essentially, the world's first political party. With the decriminalization of Christianity, power struggles were allowed to flourish in public between doctrinal opponents. With the convening of state-sponsored eumenical councils and meetings, the figure of the historical Christ became blended, irrevocably, with the image of a Christ shrouded in metaphysical ideology.
Over the next two millennia, thanks to things like the Council of Nicea and the tying of a simple faith to a complex, often opposite political reality, Western Civilization would grow to become a faith-based, blood-soaked cultural powerhouse - driven by passions, beautifully procreative and simultaneously destructive, supposedly inspired by the Son of Man.
The same melding of politics and religion that gave rise to the Renaissance also gave rise to the Inquisitions throughout Europe. The same inspiration that provided De Vinci with both patronage and artistic license also gave rise to the sinister, brutal genius of the Malleus Maleficarium and the Summis desiderantes affectibus of Pope Innocent VIII as a means to further maintain religious monopoly on Europe.
Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity, depending on the version of history one reads, either on his deathbed or after a battle in which he supposedly was granted victory over an enemy. Some have speculated that his conversion was influenced by his mother, known in Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholic traditions as St. Helena.
Above all, Constantine was, of course, a politician - the leader of what was considered to be the cultural capital of the Known World. At some point, I'm sure he not only weighed the value of Christianity in terms of immortal souls but in terms of immortality within the annals of history...
Blah, blah, blah...
Um yeah. See, this is what happens when I get bored.
I could go on, but I'll spare everybody the thought process. I have a head like a slingshot most days - stick the right ammunition in that sucker, and I'm off on a tangent.
This probably explains why I've never been very good at the whole "dinner and a movie" thing...