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Da Vinci Code bores Bishops' film reviewer


After viewing The Da Vinci Code yesterday, Australian Catholic Film Office Director Fr Richard Leonard concluded that the movie is "overly long, the direction is uninspired and the acting from Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou is surprisingly weak".

In his review published on the Bishops' website (www.catholic.org.au), he said that, with twenty minutes still to run in this 149-minute marathon, the film "completely runs out of puff".

He says that a number of modifications from the film to the book "cleans up" Dan Brown's book considerably.

"There needed to be," he said. "Dan Brown's prose is not the best, the plot of the novel was unnecessarily complicated, and the characters underdeveloped."

But, he added, "I guess there was only so much [the script writer] could do. The script remains didactic, the dialogue clumsy in parts and the drama in the last act if as illusive as the Holy Grail."

Fr Leonard acknowledges that Dan Brown's story has been a mixed blessing for Catholicism. He says that the book - which centres on the proposition that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they founded a line of medieval French aristocracy - has started people talking about the origins and history of Christianity.

"No one else I know has been able to achieve that laudable outcome," Fr Leonard said. "On the other hand many people have taken the novel far more seriously than it deserves."

In his review, Fr Leonard took aim at the suggestion in the film that the Church suppressed the memory of Mary Magdalene. The Church, he says, "venerated her throughout history as the 'apostle to the Apostles'."

"In recent times just as she was rightly throwing off her prostitution tag and emerging as one of the Christ's pre-eminent disciples, in this film, sadly, she is back defined as a lover and mother, sexualised all over again."

He also said that the sinister way this film presents the Opus Dei Albino Silas character "perpetuates the dreadful calumny often used in novels and films that really evil people also suffer some physical illness, genetic disorder or disability."

And Fr Leonard's verdict? He says: "Throughout the film the Catholic Church is called 'the dark con' of history. I know who is conning whom here, so save your money and your time."


SOURCE
The Da Vinci Code (Australian Catholic Film Office 18/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The Truth Decoded
Opus Dei
The Da Vinci Code - an invitation to learn the truth (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)
Deciphering Da Vinci (Catholic Australia)
Jesus Decoded (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

ARCHIVE
Priest-critic says Da Vinci film mild compared to book (CathNews 18/5/06)
The Truth Decoded
Opus Dei
The Da Vinci Code - an invitation to learn the truth (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)
Deciphering Da Vinci (Catholic Australia)
Jesus Decoded (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

ARCHIVE
Archbishops say Da Vinci boycott not necessary (CathNews 17/5/06)
Organisation head says Code exploited Opus Dei (CathNews 16/5/06)
Hickey says don't take Da Vinci film seriously (CathNews 15/5/06)
British team warns against Da Vinci Code "trap" (CathNews 12/5/06)
Scholars setting record straight on Mary Magdalene (CathNews 3/5/06)
Opus Dei priest says it's OK to see The Da Vinci Code (CathNews 28/4/06)

MORE STORIES
"Da Vinci Code" secret is out: most critics hate it (Reuters 17/5/06)
China beats Cannes with "Da Vinci Code" premiere (Reuters 18/5/06)
Da Vinci Code controversy renewed by film release (ABC Radio The World Today 18/5/06)
'Da Vinci Code' bombs with Cannes critics (Catholic News Agency 18/5/06)
Interfaith coalition calls for boycott of 'Da Vinci Code' movie (Catholic News Agency 18/5/06)
Audio recording refutes "Da Vinci Code" (NZ Catholic 19/5/06)
Opus Dei member breaks the stereotype (NZ Catholic 19/5/06)
Mark Christensen: The church and the code (On Line Opinion 18/5/06)
"Da Vinci Code" panned at Cannes Film Festival (Radio New Zealand 18/5/06)
If you think it will upset you, don't go (Sydney Morning Herald 19/5/06)
Murderous monk business (The Age 19/5/06)
Dean Bertram: Cracking the conspiracy code (The Australian 19/5/06)
Code is no cracker (London Evening Standard 18/5/06)
"Da Vinci" Film Not Great Art, Says Signis (Zenit 17/5/06)


19 May 2006