Critics crucify ‘Da Vinci Code’ in Cannes

CANNES, France, May 17, 2006 (AFP) – The most hotly-awaited movie of the year “The Da Vinci Code” failed to crack an audience of movie critics here at a sneak preview ahead of Wednesday’s opening of the Cannes Film Festival. Several whistles instead of applause were all that greeted the end of Ron Howard’s 125-million-dollar film, and worse than that, the 2,000-strong audience even burst out laughing at the movie’s key moment.

“I didn’t like it very much. I thought it was almost as bad as the book. Tom Hanks was a zombie, thank goodness for Ian McKellen. It was overplayed, there was too much music and it was much too grandiose,” said Peter Brunette, critic for the US daily The Boston Globe.

The film version of Dan Brown’s mega-best selling book premieres in Cannes on Wednesday before going on worldwide release on Friday.

It stars Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon, called in after the curator of the Louvre is found murdered, his body splayed out covered in symbols.

Langdon and French police cryptologist Sophie Neveu, played by French actress Audrey Tautou, find themselves ensnared in a mystifying hunt to track down the murderer and solve a 2,000-year-old riddle.

The book has already sold some 50 millio