A Code That Takes Longer to Watch Than Read
“The Da Vinci Code” is one of the few screen versions of a book that may take longer to watch than to read. To their credit, the director Ron Howard and his screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman （who collaborated with Mr. Howard on “Cinderella Man” and “A Beautiful Mind”）, have streamlined Dan Brown's story and refrained from trying to capture his, um, prose style. To be fair, though, Mr. Goldsman conjures up some pretty ripe dialogue all on his own. “Your God does not forgive murderers,” hisses Audrey Tautou to Paul Bettany （who play a less than enormous, short-haired albino）。 “He burns them！”
Theology aside, this remark can serve as a reminder that “The Da Vinci Code” is, above all, a murder mystery. And as such, once it gets going, Mr. Howard's movie has its pleasures. He and Mr. Goldsman have deftly rearranged some elements of the plot, unkinking a few over-elaborate twists and introducing others that keep the action moving along. Hans Zimmer's appropriately overwrought score, pop-romantic with some liturgical decoration, glides us through scenes that might otherwise be talky and inert. The movie does, however, take a while to accelerate, popping the clutch and leaving rubber on the road as it tries to establish who is who, what they're doing and why.
The New York Times