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PCR # 321  (Vol. 7, No. 20)  This edition is for the week of May 15--21, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The DaVinci Code"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Starring: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany and Jean Reno
Directed by: Ron Howard
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 2 hours 39 mins

While in the famed Louvre museum in Paris a well known historian is murdered by a ghostly man dressed as a monk. Before he dies, the dead man leaves clues for Robert Langdon, well known professor and author, who is currently in Paris on a book tour. As he goes from clue to clue, Langdon discovers the phrase, "so dark the con of man." And it is this clue that sends Langdon, and the audience, off to solve one of the greatest mysteries of all time.

Unless you've been away on Mars the past few years, you've surely heard of "The Da Vinci Code." Dan Brown's best-selling novel tells the story of a hidden order that has been charged with keeping a secret so sacred that it's very revelation would shake the world. Director Howard and writer Akiva Goldsmith, who both won Oscars for "A Beautiful Mind," have taken Brown's story and brought it to life, thanks in part to an outstanding cast, led by the always incredible Tom Hanks. As Langdon, Hanks calls on his "everyman" persona to take you along on his journey. He is surrounded by a top notch cast of actors, each doing work that will surely be part of their tribute reel one day. Tautou is the French cryptologist whose interest in the case is much more then it seems. McKellen shines as a fellow historian whose own quest for the secret Langdon holds has taken over his very life. Bettany is downright spooky as the monk who takes his devotion to extremes, going so far as to self flagellation and wearing a spiked cilice (a belt that digs into the skin) to experience the pain of Christ's suffering. But is Reno that stands out. His conflicted police captain, hell bent on capturing Langdon (who he feels is responsible for the historian's murder) while following his own religious beliefs, is easily his best work on screen since "The Professional."

Ron Howard has emerged as one of the greatest directors of his generation. Sadly overlooked last year for "Cinderella Man," he easily puts himself at the front of this year's Oscar race. With his flowing cameras and often spectacular flashback sequences, Howard proves himself a master of film much like Da Vinci was a master of art. The beautiful architecture featured in the films many set pieces just add an extra touch of authenticity to the story. If I have one fault with the film, it's the running time. An almost protracted ending slows the film down in it's last 20 minutes, but that is something easily overlooked when taking the picture as a whole. Extra credit to Howard for not turning the film into a "message" picture, allowing the audience to make their own decisions as to the facts presented.

Whatever your beliefs, "The Da Vinci Code" is a film to be seen and, more importantly, discussed. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "The Da Vinci Code"  Three and a half stars

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This week's movie review of "The DaVinci Code" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.