I know quite a few people who are critical of Dan Brown and are very dismissive of his books. I have to admit that I don’t think he is a particularly good writer, but when I read his books I do feel driven to read on and find out what happens next – which is really the most important thing to ask of a thriller. He is the P.T Barnum of modern thriller writing – his writing isn’t truth, or theology, but it is entertaining hokum, even though it might not stand up to much intelligent scrutiny.
The new film adaptation is not slavishly reverent to the novel, making a few changes that include jettisoning a major character. The majority of the plot is unaltered: an ancient secret society which was thought to be defunct, the Illuminati, appears to be very much alive. Robert Langdon, symbologist and expert on the Illuminati, is consulted to help investigate the kidnapping of four Cardinals. Then the situation escalates as Vatican City, the home of the Catholic Church, is under threat.
I personally felt that Angels and Demons is better served by its adaptation than The Da Vinci Code was, producing a film that has a greater sense of pace and urgency. Tom Hanks seems rather more comfortable in the role of Robert Langdon, and he is provided with an able companion in the form of Ayelet Zurer as scientist Vittoria Vetra. Yes, the plot might be deeply silly – but it is enjoyably so, if you go along with the ride and don’t ask too many questions.
I have to admit though that I was rather distracted by noticing that Armin Mueller-Stahl, who plays Cardinal Strauss, looks a little like Victor Borge.
* My husband suggested the title…..