Opening film jinx hits Da Vinci Code
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Opening film jinx hits Da Vinci Code

Not everything is going fine with this year's most-hyped film. Saibal Chatterjee shares some details.

india Updated: May 19, 2006 12:57 IST

The mixed response to Ron Howard’s controversial The Da Vinci Code, the opening film of the 59th Cannes Film Festival, isn’t probably as surprising as it may seem. Many a Cannes opening film has drawn lukewarm reactions in recent years.

The first American film to kickstart the Cannes festival since Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda in 2002, The Da Vinci Code has been found wanting in comparison with the Dan Brown book on which it is based.

The book sold upwards of 40 million copies worldwide. The film, say critics who caught it at world premiere, would be lucky to last beyond a month at the box office. The have described The Da Vinci Code as "dull, drab, and plodding".

Kirk Honeycutt, the Hollywood Reporter reviewer found Tom Hanks’ interpretation of the central character of symbologist Robert Langdon "remote, even wooden". He wrote: "Da Vinci never rises to the level of a guilty pleasure. Too much guilt. Not enough pleasure."

The literary editor of the Evening Standard, David Sexton, has been quoted as saying that The Da Vinci Code is "historical hokum with welcome outbreaks of hilarious bad taste."

Running well over two hours, Howard’s film, feel critics, is too long and convoluted for a film that is being touted as a sure-fire blockbuster.

In a sense, it is the opening film jinx that is back to haunt The Da Vinci Code. Barring Pedro Almodovar’s Bad Education, the opening film of the 57th Cannes Film Festival (2004), none of the first night gala screenings in the past five years have impressed the critics.

Last year, German-born French filmmaker Dominik Moll’s Lemming left many in the audience rather cold and clueless. In 2003, Fanfan le Tulipe, an update of a classic French entertainer of yore, fell way short of the quality expected of a Cannes Film Festival opening film.

Pretty much the same verdict has come the way of Ron Howard’s much-hyped film.

First Published: May 18, 2006 16:11 IST