Disclaimer: the review is divided into 2 parts. Click next page to read a deeper analysis.
I was rather surprised when the filmmakers announced the da Vinci code as it is a sequel to Angels and demons. Angels and demons is one of the most thrilling books ever written with a touch of science and religion. The film, thanks to Howard’s vision turned out to be a masterpiece indeed.
The pope died on a tragic circumstance and the Vatican city is on a period of Sante vacante. Four cardinals were chosen as the ‘preferitti’ but they were kidnapped by a skilled killer (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) who is given the instructions to execute them. At the same time, Vittoria Vetra’s (Ayelet Zurer) experiment under Silvano, where they discovered Higgs boson is ambushed. Silvano is killed and the canister with Higgs boson is taken away. Vatican police recruit Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) to solve the puzzle left by the killer where they could rescue each of the cardinals and finally, the canister which will be destroyed at midnight, killing the majority of Italy. Langdon and Vetra are racing against time by solving each piece from the puzzle.
A lot of critics criticized how the movie digressed from Brown’s book by leaving out many plotlines. The best part is that the movie is more of a suspense thriller without any additional sentimental scenarios and romance. Ron Howard’s direction is seen within the shades of golden tint and the cinematography gives us the feel of how fast the time is going, notably when the characters are traveling by car. The movie enhances on several issues like stem cell research and many people’s support and condemnation towards it. The process of election and how people wait outside St Peter’s square is shown in a grand manner, like the mass’s reaction when the smoke comes out. Different locations in the Vatican city is shown in a fascinating manner. Tom Hanks dominates the screen with his charisma, the way he solves the puzzles makes him look like a genius with an eidetic memory. The way he panicked after seeing the attempted murder of one of the cardinals increases our pulse as well. Ayelet Zurer is a good actress and she delivered an authoritative performance. Ewen McGregor is controlled and he is both brilliant and vulnerable. Initially, I didn’t like Stellan Skarsgard much but he turned out to be the person with the key. Nikolaj Lie Kaas is supposed to Silas in the da Vinci code, in this movie he gets to be the daunting killer who works more like a programmed robot. The stillness in his eyes while he commits each murder sends chills down one’s spine. But the fact that he lacks depth when compared Silas is the setback.
Overall, the film is better than the book as it is a suspense thriller with no second doubts. Unless the scriptwriter took released his feet from the accelerator, the movie’s perfect pacing intends to make into a suspense thriller alone and the addition of any other side detail will make it look like muddled water. I am glad that several cringeworthy aspects were removed. Ron Howard, along with Goldsman, Koepp, and Hanks, waved his magic wand again, giving a thriller to enjoy.
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