Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Da Vinci Code movie

I had nothing to watch last night and so I was trawling Amazon's free movies for Prime members and came across The Da Vinci Code. I never saw the movie when it came out, so I decided to give it a try ... hey, it starts with a trip to the Louver to see the Mona Lisa, which I actually got to do on my one trip to Europe :) Here's a bit about it ...

The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 American mystery thriller film directed by Ron Howard and written by Akiva Goldsman, adapted from Dan Brown's 2003 best-selling novel of the same name. The film stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, Jürgen Prochnow, Jean Reno, and Paul Bettany.

In the film, Robert Langdon, a professor of religious iconography and symbology from Harvard University, is the prime suspect in the grisly and unusual murder of Louvre curator Jacques Saunière. He escapes with the assistance of a police cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and they are embroiled in a quest for the legendary Holy Grail. He is pursued by a dogged French police captain, Bezu Fache. A noted British Grail historian, Sir Leigh Teabing, tells them the actual Holy Grail is explicitly encoded in Leonardo da Vinci's wall painting, the Last Supper. Also searching for the Grail is a secret cabal within Opus Dei, an actual prelature of the Holy See, who wishes to keep the true Grail a secret; the revelation of this secret would certainly destroy Christianity.

The film, like the book, was considered controversial. It was met with especially harsh criticism by the Roman Catholic Church for the accusation that it is behind a two-thousand-year-old cover-up concerning what the Holy Grail really is and the concept that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were married and that the union produced a daughter. Many members urged the laity to boycott the film. Two organizations, the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei figure prominently in the story. In the book, Dan Brown insists that the Priory of Sion and "...all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate".

As the Wikipedia article goes on the mention, the movie was controversial and church representatives went into a frenzied effort to dismiss the movie's theories. But I didn't find it be be anti-Christian or anti-Catholic. Roger Ebert thought it was entertaining too and gave it 3 out of 4 stars in his review.

The film had some good actors: Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Alfred Molina (Doc Ock), and Jürgen Prochnow (Jesus and of course, the captain of Das Boot ) and it was a travel movie too in which we got to see the Louvre, Lincoln and Winchester cathedrals (which stood in for Westminster Abbey), Belvoir Castle (which stood in for the Pope's summer residence), and also Rosslyn Chapel. And there were interesting bits of history as well ... the various references to obscure esoteric items, from a non-canonical gospel (Gospel of Philip) to a treatise on the prosecution of witches (Malleus Maleficarum) were intriguing.

What I found the most compelling idea in the movie was that of a married Jesus. There's a line near the end of the film where the Tom Hanks character asks, "Why couldn't Jesus have been a father and still be capable of all those miracles?". Indeed, why not?

Here's a trailer for the movie ...


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