The Da Vinci Code (2006)
The intriguing, albeit speculative and sensational nature of Dan Brown's massively successful story cannot prevent this film from being overly plotted and explanatory. A strong ensemble cast and the direction of Oscar-winner Ron Howard is a promising set off, and the film is never uninteresting, but also never breathtaking as it dwells into its historical and religious theories and classically constructed criminal mystery. What is most disappointing, however, is that for all the controversy and focus this story's historical aspect has attracted, this is exactly where Howard's film manages to be the least convincing. There's generally too much jabber and explanation and too little vision and flair. Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou - who both would seem perfect in the leads - never manage to play off each other's strengths, and Tautou struggles with what ultimately becomes a thankless role. Luckily, Ian McKellen steals the show, and towards the end he is absolutely brilliant. The enigma brought by the talented Paul Bettany also helps the case, but not enough to make the film quite eerie, thought-provoking or important enough. Eventually, I was able to conclude that The Da Vinci Code is best summed up as a slightly improved The Ninth Gate.