Review of the Da Vinci Code
Having read this book when it first came out, and being enthralled with the religious ideas as put forth by Dan Brown, when I saw this as an option on the list, I knew that The Da Vinci Code had to be the movie I chose to write about. It is important to note that the movie stayed very true to the spirit of the book in that all the major themes were still present, and the character likenesses were consistent with the original author’s intent.
The movie takes place in both France and England. It is cast with a very internationally diverse group of actors, and is one of the most “international” movies I have ever seen. Many times, American movies are made with an all-American cast of actors who don an accent to appear to be from a foreign locale. In this movie, French, British and American actors came together to more accurately portray their characters and maintain an authenticity that is often missing from American cinema. In fact, some of the French actors do not speak English at all, thus making the use of sub-titles necessary, and again, removing the ethnocentric American ideal that all actors should speak English because it is an American film.
The main characters in the movie are Robert Langdon, Agent Sophie Neveu, Sir Leigh Teabing, and Silas. Langdon is an American professor who specializes in religious symbolism. Of all the characters he is truly the only one who is as he appears. He is a finder of facts. He refers to himself as a “flatfoot of history.” His job throughout the plot is to uncover the truths behind the mystery, regardless of what the mystery may be. He does not become involved in a love affair, he does not use or abuse his position. There is nothing in it for him, except the truth. Sophie is a strong female character. She is the heart of the mystery and does not know that until the end. She is an honest character in that her motives are pure. She is involved because of her grandfather, and while she is resistant to her inclusion in the mystery, she too is seeking the truth. My belief that Sophie is not what she appears is not because she is intentionally deceitful, but rather because her identity is the climax of the movie, and because she (and the audience) does not know this, it is for this reason that Sophie is not what she appears. Silas is portrayed as a zealot. He is willing to do whatever is necessary to protect the only family he has ever had. While his actions are deplorable, he truly believes that he is doing the right thing with each action he takes. Finally, Teabing. Teabing is the mastermind behind all of the violence, the seeker of the Grail, but for less than honorable reasons. We meet him and he seems to be one of the good guys, an ally to Langdon in the search for the truth. By the end, we know that to be false.
The themes presented by the movie challenge the very heart of Christianity. It is put forth through a series of puzzles, art interpretation and historical symbols that the Holy Grail, long believed to be the cup that Christ used at the last supper, was actually a person. And not just any person, but the direct descendent of Christ himself. In order for Christ to have descendents, this would mean that he had sex. The premise put forth is that Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and they had a child together. It is this child that perpetuated the royal bloodline of Christ throughout the centuries, and an organization called the Priory of Scion was created to protect the secret of the grail. The heart of Christianity is that Christ was pure. He did not have sex, he did not have the pleasures of man. For Christianity to exist the way it does, there is a truth in that men are the heads of the church, hence the Pope, Bishops, Cardinals (all referred to as father), and that women are there to serve the Lord through their dedication to serving the men. If the Grail is a person, and not just any person, but a child of Mary Magdalene, then this means that Christ’s church is perpetuated by a woman, not by Peter (a man) as is what is put forth in the gospels of the Bible. The idea of a woman being the head of the church is a very paganistic idea, and this challenges all of the teachings of the Bible.
The author spends a great deal of time referencing the Priory of Scion, the Knights Templar and Opus Dei. All of these are “secret societies” generally of the Vatican, and integral to the protection of the Grail. Since all of these actually do exist throughout history, the idea that the function of secret societies and lies perpetuated by the Vatican as far as the truths that motivated the growth of Christ’s church, this is all challenging to the heart of Christianity. Through the use of Silas, the author shows an extreme individual who uses self-flagellation in varying degrees, and is willing to commit murder for what he believes in, and because this comes off as insane to onlookers, it also opens the door to doubting the sanity of people who buy into the Vatican teachings in a zealous fashion. Not only does it create questions for non-Christians, but it opens the door for believers to begin questioning just what it is they believe and whether or not the Church has been covering up truths, and lying to followers.
Overall, I think that Dan Brown did an amazing job of taking historical facts, historical theories and fictional suspense in creating this work. If his goal was to create doubts and questions, he certainly accomplished that. I recall the uproar from the Vatican and from the population in general. I also recall the debates, the tv shows, and the articles written discussing the premises as laid forth by the author. Could there be truth to them? How real might this whole idea be? Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code opened the door for perspectives, and discussions that might have otherwise remained hidden. As a Christian who was going through Catholic confirmation at the time the book came out, I loved the way in which the author brought out all of these hypothetical ideas. I still believe in Christ, and in the teachings of the New Testament, but I look at all of it slightly differently. I am more likely to seek out the answers, and not just accept the Vatican teachings as gospel. I hope that others are as willing to do the same. It makes for great debate!
The donning of her [dancing] dress has brought about the turning point of her life. -Barbara Fass Leavy Dress and outward appearance have historically played a significant role in the […]
Strength cannot be universally defined. It is, in its truest form, an individualized characteristic. Some perceive strength as staying true to oneself and refusing to bend to the will of […]
The earliest fairy tales were published in a patriarchal society where women had little rights and played a subordinate role, raised to bow to male authority. As a result, most […]
Ann Beattie’s The Cinderella Waltz is a fascinating short story that explores a divorce between a couple in which one partner has gone off with his homosexual lover and Louise, […]
The classic tale of Cinderella is one that has been retold over countless centuries having numerous renditions designed to adapt to a certain cultural society at a given time. Due […]
This essay is an evaluation of psychological interpretation of fairy and folklore tales looking at the topic of sibling’s rivalry and oedipal period in Cinderella. There is a use of […]
The Princess on the Glass Hill and Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper, discuss strong ideas of purity that are portrayed by two characters, Cinderella and Cinderlad. Cinderella and Cinderlad […]
What if The Holy Grail was not the chalice that Lord Jesus Christ drank wine from for the last time? What if the Holy Grail symbolizes the wedded wife of […]
Title: In Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, cryptologist Sophie Neveu and Robert Langdon, a professor of symbology, embark on a mission to uncover Neveu’s past and many hidden truths. […]
Having read this book when it first came out, and being enthralled with the religious ideas as put forth by Dan Brown, when I saw this as an option on […]