Having always been wary of Summer Blockbuster books whose title clearly follows the Magic Bestseller Formula, I wouldn’t have gone to see it, but a couple of friends asked me along. Well, it was nice seeing them and having a beer beforehand. As for their inflicting the film on me: in the end I had no trouble forgiving them as they’d read the book and suffered even more than I did.
The film itself suffers from self-indulgent direction and a scenario so thin it probably qualifies as molecular. It’s much too easy to see what’s coming next.
It lasts for two and a half hours which could be usefully reduced to two, removing all the pointless flashbacks for a start. Even so, the film still lacks pace, which is 80% of the point in a thriller, after all. I would go as far as to say it combines the worst features of French and American thrillers – the former often lack action, the latter character development – while combining none of their good points.
Apart from Ian McKellen, who does his considerable best to make something out of a barely two-dimensional character, it’s frankly wooden. Some of these people have won awards for performances in other films, but you’d never guess. No doubt the lacklustre direction nobbled them.
Incidentally, nobody is going to make me believe that a professor in an obscure branch of theology writes bestselling books and can afford to stay at the Ritz, any more than you can see the stars through the pollution in any major city anywhere in the world. I apologise to the other people in the cinema for bursting out laughing at this point: it really is far too over the top.
All in all, an extremely disappointing film which fully merited its panning by professional critics when shown at Cannes. Don’t waste time and money on it: it’ll leave a sour taste in your mouth and might even put you off going to see better films with the same actors actually being allowed to act.
If you want to see an exciting, well-paced film about a quest for the Holy Grail, go rent a DVD of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- Let’s help Tom Hanks’s career, or ‘Dan Brown has much to answer for’ (thegreatandthegood.wordpress.com)