“What, [dodges bullet] you mean Jesus wasn’t really the Son of God [jumps into speeding car] and married Mary Magdalene [hijacks armoured vehicle] who bore a child who [takes plane to an England full of half-timbered cars] established a bloodline which [evades knife-thrust of albino monk] if it were ever to become public knowledge would [accidentally shoots cardinal] undermine the power of the Catholic Church [garrottes nun]?”
There’s plenty more of this sort of carry-on in director Ron Howard’s almost satisfying attempt to turn Dan Brown’s 560 pages of lecture-chase-lecture into something cinematic. And it had to be made into a movie – the sales figures of the book said so. But did a decent director like Ron Howard have to do it? Did someone hold a gun to his head? Maybe, after Cinderella Man (aka Russell Crowe’s Rocky), Howard owed someone a favour. Either way, here it is, with Tom Hanks starring, but barely registering, Audrey Tautou ditto. Only Ian McKellen really grasps that this is a gigantic nonsense and, by Simon Callow, doesn’t he have a fine old time as a crusty academic. To be fair to everyone, it works. Just.
© Steve Morrissey 2006