Tuesday, January 03, 2006

O, Draconian Devil!

Last week I read The Da Vinci Code.

I had been meaning to read it for a long time. It was so popularly successful that it was (almost) worth it on that alone. It was written by Dan Brown, who might now be Exeter’s most famous alum (that’s saying something). And there’s a movie on the way... I always like to read the book before seeing the movie. As a filmmaker, somehow it's important for me to know the source material going in.

The book lived up to my (fairly high) expectations. Sometimes the writing was annoying in it’s simplicity, and the cliffhanger-every-2-pages thing gets a little grating, but it’s rare that a book is so well-crafted narratively (especially one with such a cinematic sense of narrative form). It has an addictive sense of intellectual play, embedding puzzles within puzzles as mysteries to be solved reader and character alike. While it falls a bit short of high art, it is a very worthwhile read. After finishing it it’s all I thought about for days. I read probably a hundred articles on the Priory of Sion, daVinci, the Louvre, Chretien de Troyes, Nicholas Flamel, or anything with even a small connection to the book’s plot. I played the puzzles embedded in the text of the book and on the publisher’s website. I had dreams about Sophie Neveu.

That last part may have been slightly influenced by the fact that she’ll be played by Audrey Tatou in the upcoming movie version.

And what a movie it will be: Tom Hanks. Audrey T. Ian McKellen. Paul Bettany. Jean Reno. Alfred Molina. Directed by Ron Howard. Screenplay by Akiva Goldsman.
A Wesleyan-grad screenwriter’s adaption of an Exeter-grad’s bestselling novel - it’s time to flaunt my education.
[Actually, I'll let Joss do it for me.]

Ok, I’m done.

Sure, the book is a little narratively programmatic, but it’s compelling enough as an intellectual suspense movie to make up for it. And I’m not a Ron Howard fan at all; I think the best thing he’s done is give some chromosomes to Bryce. Still - I'm sure I'll be there opening weekend.

Of course, I’d probably be there opening weekend even if it didn’t have so much going for it, considering that Audrey Tatou is on the Toast List.*

Watch the Da Vinci Code trailer here.

*The Toast List - People that I would pay to see a movie to watch them make toast for 2 hours.
It’s not just about being pretty - it’s about having presence.

A starter version of the list:
Leonor Watling
Audrey Tatou
Naomi Watts
Gael Garcia Bernal
Scarlett Johansson
Shannyn Sossamon [why does she not get better roles?!?]

NOTE: The Toast List only includes living actors. Garbo, Dietrich, Marilyn, Françoise Dorléac, etc would clearly be on an All-Time Toast List if one is ever created.

No comments: