Colossal best-seller (and I can say colossal when it’s number one for nearly two-hundred weeks) “The Davinci Code” is going to experience the “adapted to the big screen” treatment in a little under a year, and the much anticipated adaptation has drawn much expectations from its hardcore following. But leave it to Disney to rip from its innards and offer up their own generic carbon copy. One major vitriol I had from the release that many critics haven’t exactly touched on was that “National Treasure” is an antecedent as a concept. Never have I seen such a blatant, and shameless rip-off of “The Davinci Code” before, but this is Disney for you. Rather then licking their wounds, they invented an American version of the same story.
When a heist goes awry, Laure Ash poses as a woman, stealing her identity and sets out to live a straight life while attempting to dodge two of her ex-partners out for vengeance and a photographer who wants her picture for the tabloids. I was literally stunned by DePalma’s (Carrie, Blowout) visually engrossing direction that so eloquently depicts every action of the story he is trying to tell. He is the master of the split screen which he uses to emphasize character motive and personality. At times, there were scenes so incredible, I just had to rewind and see it all over again. He pays attention to every small and seemingly adequate detail from the largest of street settings to confined spaces such as hotel rooms. One of my favorite scenes is where the character Bardo sits along his balcony top watching Ash from across the street; though he doesn’t know what he’s in for yet, he’s oddly intrigued, and another of the best scenes where Bardo fights off an aggressive pursuer of Ash where Bardo steps in begins to fight him. DePalma doesn’t show the fight except relies on sound and imagination as we watch the silhouettes of Bardo fighting off the attacker while he slowly closes in on Ashe’s face who is reacting to the entire scene like a snake watching her prey fight over her.
There are those films with big stars that you know are because the actors love the part, then there are the films that actors are in, and you know it’s for simply money. There can be no other explanation for actors such as Al Pacino and Colin Farrell to star in this other than that simple reason. There’s a mood director Roger Donaldson is going for desperately but fails with every leap trudging through the plot with a tried attempt. He attempts to go for the Tom Clancy mood and motif with the murky and sometimes sharp cinematography, but little does he know that the script is the ultimate down fall to this film. There’s nothing to like about this movie from its plot holes to immense lapses in logic; for instance, how is it that Clayton goes from a top computer programmer, to a moon lighting bartender right into the CIA without any training beforehand?
There’s a problem I have with this movie that I think the filmmakers over at Jerry Bruckheimer’s company can never fix: Keeping this movie from being made. If I could turn back time and prevent this disaster, it would make my life a lot more complete. Folks, this is probably one of the worst films I have ever seen in years, a travesty of filmmaking that drags on for two hours like Chinese water torture and never eases up. The screenplay by Jason Richman and Michael Browning is ridiculous because we have a spy, who is good, he dies, and what? You mean he has a twin brother? How convenient.