Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Finally, 'Code' revealed: A tame thriller in a teapot

CANNES It seems you can't open a movie these days without provoking some kind of culture war skirmish, at least in the conflict-hungry media. Recent history - "The Passion of the Christ," "The Chronicles of Narnia" - suggests that such controversy, especially if religion is involved, can be very good business. "The Da Vinci Code," Ron Howard's film of Dan Brown's best-selling primer on how not to write an English sentence, arrives trailing more than its share of theological and historical disputation. The arguments about the movie and the book that inspired it have not been going on for millennia - it only feels that way - but part of the ingenious marketing strategy of Columbia Pictures has been to encourage months of debate and speculation while not allowing anyone to see the picture until the very last minute. Thus we have had a flood of think pieces on everything from Jesus and Mary Magdalene's prenuptial agreement to the secret recipes of Opus Dei, and vexed, urgent questions have been raised. Is Christianity a conspiracy? Is "The Da Vinci Code" a dangerous, anti-Christian hoax? What's up with Tom Hanks's hair? [More]


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