10 years since the release of The Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks reprises his role as Professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon, in the third instalment of the film franchise based on Dan Brown’s successful book series.
The film follows Langdon attempting to piece together recent events after suffering from memory loss induced by an unexplained head wound. With the help of his doctor, Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), the usual treasure hunt-esque pursuit ensues as Langdon sets out to follow a series of clues related to Italian poet, Dante. The film struggles with its opening.
For the first 20 minutes we are subject to Langdon hallucinating as a result of his head trauma. The filming style is erratic and no doubt intended to reflect Langdon’s confusion; unfortunately, however this is distracting, hard to follow and all in all a bit messy. Once the film gets into its stride, notably at the same moment that Hanks switches from a hospital gown to a suit, things begin to improve.
For fans of the puzzle-solving element of the Dan Brown stories, there will be disappointment. There seems to have been a trade off between keeping to the books and utilising the expertise of their main character and making a film that can stand up modern thrillers. There is less focus on the skills of Langdon and his knowledge of symbology and religious iconography. Indeed the presence of religion is completely absent in contrast to the previous two films.
As a one off thriller the story is strong and offers up some interesting questions. The theme of over-population is consistent throughout and contributes to the contemporary feel that was clearly a central aim of the films creators, (however not necessarily a feature that would appeal to fans of the books and the previous films). There is a sense that there was something different attempted, which will ultimately divide viewers.
It’s a good film, but is it a good Da Vinci Code film? This reviewer, for one, remains torn.