Heroes are beings that have something to offer that has the power to spark change. However, although these beings wield such strength, it is often clouded by historical codes, religious riddles, and a lot of authoritative chasing. In the 2006 blockbuster film by director Ron Howard The Di Vinci Code, based of the two part novel series Angels and Demons and of course The Di Vinci Code, is no exception. The movie has a symbolic pair of heroes.
Robert Langdon, whom is played by Tom Hanks, and Agent Sophie Neveu, played by Audrey Tautou, utilize not only their distinctive characteristics to convey a certain personality, but also unconscious nonverbal cues as actors in order to strengthen their roles and also the story line itself. The duo is chased all throughout Europe, divulging new answers to the puzzle that can tear apart the very fabric of religion, doing all of which while avoiding capture and almost certain death. Langdon uses his unique mental abilities as well as his mastery of religious symbols in mixture with Neveu's knowledge of Europe and the secret of the Di Vinci code to proceed further in their adventure.
In Robert Ray's "The Thematic Paradigm," he discusses the hero two distinct hero molds and his three values: society's views on age, women in society, and law and politics, all of which apply quite heavily inside the movie. The tag team of Langdon and Neveu gives the movie watchers best of both worlds, all the while scratching well beneath the societal surface by unconsciously utilizing one's perceptions on everything on the screen.
Everything from Hank's age difference as opposed to Tautou to Agent Neveu's high society standing all contribute to the experience and the metamessages the movie tries to convey. With all of the extraneous factors all playing a role in the movie going experience, the utilization of Ray's proposed hero types along with his three values expected from a movie allows the watchers to not only be satisfied with the visual movie itself, but ultimately make them apply their own interpretations, prejudices and ideologies onto the big screen.
The power of age can usually have the upper hand in the swift escape of the hero or the ultimate plan of antagonists. Psychologically, age adds a mature, serious, experienced, and intelligent aura to the movie, which in essence strengthens the divine power of the code by adding suspense and intensity. Langdon is a religious symbologist and is a college professor. Hanks's character represents the official hero because of the important societal and psychological ideologies that the movie entails.
As a college professor, it shows intelligence and high status in society, as Langdon is highly viewed upon around the world and is one of the leading experts in the field of religious symbology. His highly regarded social position is also important because it takes many years to not only become an avid college professor, but much longer through experience to gain all the insight and knowledge to be better than all the rest. The casting of Tom Hanks, who is different then his younger, more physically fit character portrayed in the novel, too played a large role in the success of the film because he adds the established mature theme, revealed by his nonverbal intensity.
As a older gentleman, Hank's does not utilize Rambo- like action, rather he uses his amazing nonverbal cues in order to show strength. For example, the chucking of his sensor out the window and his uncanny ability to solve puzzles with just a glance is extraordinary. As for Neveu, her character empowers the strength and advancement that women have long struggled for.
A highly ranked agent of the police, Agent Neveu reveals through her knowledge and wicked police skills that women are a strong force to be reckoned with. Her bombtasticness portrays more of the outlaw hero persona by keeping Langdon alive, in addition to aiding his pursuit by divulging little pieces of her past that eventually tie together. With her ability to be dynamic and courageous physically, she also is a rather smart woman, knowing a good deal of Langdon's information.
Because the movie demands seriousness and suspense, the heroes generally lean toward the official hero position, utilizing the outlaw hero persona only when in jeopardy. This is significant because the official hero seems to keep the outlaw hero in check. In an intricate world where the slightest margin for error can lead to death, this control is a theme in the movie. This correlates with age because the older male Langdon is acts as not only a teacher and mentor to his female subordinate, but moreover appears to control the activation of Agent Neveu's assistance. One does not need to be extreme and dynamic the whole time, just enough to make a difference.
Agent Neveu's character leaves not much to be desired with the amount of power this lovely young lady possesses. Being a highly ranked official, the authoritative power that she is granted a high powered societal role, which is significant because it goes against society's expectations for people of power. In this case, Neveu is part of the law enforcement branch. Her presence as an agent is quite different from society's expectations because the mold usually is strong, physically fit men who are extremely knowledgeable about the legal system.
Yet, instead of downplaying her influence, her expertise is in no way short handed. Her position implies strength, perseverance, and dedication; all traits that relate to the many struggles for women's equality over the ages. Although Neveu is considered a support character, her influence is what permits the adventure to proceed. She on numeous occasions uses her police training and experience to save Langdon and herself for the clever cops.
This outlaw hero trait is like a chemical rush to the movie; it is only called upon when needed, not used in excess in other plot less action movies trying to stir up attention. Her knowledge of the secret aids Langdon's application of history to obstacles such as the APPLE rotating puzzle, allowing them to go the extra step further. Knowledge and intelligence in women is usually overlooked in society, a pattern that can be seen all throughout history. Knowledge on both aversion and useable allows the watchers to be satisfied with their need for action in combination with gaining a new insight on the surprises women have in store.
Law is put into effect to protect from chaos, but when chaos has the opportunity to be unleashed and law cannot contain it, the whole system shatters. In the movie, basically every law enforcement officer is on a manhunt to find Robert Langdon and Agent Neveu.
The European government has a certain bind to the Vatican, or Catholic church. The Vatican is portrayed as a strong influence over the European countries and has constantly over the ages used its power to manipulate and ignore the policies and laws when it were threatened. Langdon and Neveu only break the law because the people sworn to protect the law are breaking it in order to stop them. The representation of the breaking of the law has ironic significance because the very laws that are put forth to protect them are crumbling apart so that Langdon and Neveu can be caught at all costs.
The political figures and government are also corrupted, alluding to all governments of today. The secret itself is said to have the power to grant the holder unlimited power, a common dream of all rulers of the past, present, and future. Our heroes are indirectly protectors of the limitless power from the government.
This is symbolized when Langdon and Neveu finally unearth the source of God's power. But, fortunately, our heroes decide to not reveal the secret and let it lay where it began, preventing such atrocities to occur. The revealing of such knowledge would throw all ideologies since the beginning of time into the gutter, forcing every person to rethink all their beliefs and thoughts. This ending allows the watchers to think about their own beliefs and what would happen if everything they ever knew could be changed a hundred and eighty degrees if one piece of information surfaced.
The Di Vinci Code allows movie goers to experience not only the thrilling, suspenseful adventure story between two unlikely heroes, but also give the people a chance to use their minds. The amount of hidden and implied meanings and symbols allows people to have a chance to interpret and apply their own personal opinions and ideas onto the movie screen. The strengths, balances, and power depicted not only what we go to the movies to do, but also relate themselves to the characters. The heroes Langdon and Neveu accomplished just this, showing people that heroes can come not only from comic books and dreams, but in the real world.
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