The Da Vinci Code | Chicago Reader

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Dan Brown's mega-selling novel might have made a great ten-hour miniseries: its elaborate riddles and clues could have been properly teased, the cliff-hangers savored, and the sudsy relationships given an appropriately vulgar treatment. Alas, this Ron Howard adaptation is like a speed-dating session, covering two millennia of religious and art history. A symbologist (Tom Hanks, stiff) and a cryptographer (Audrey Tautou, blank) careen across France and the UK trying to uncover the secrets behind a Louvre curator's murder, with a mad monk (Paul Bettany) and a fanatical cop (Jean Reno) in hot pursuit. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) pelts the viewer with so many factoids and allegations about the early Catholic church, goddess worship, the Crusades, painting, cartography, and code breaking that the movie's big revelation turns out to be neither grand nor shocking. PG-13, 148 min.

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