Arts & Faith veteran “mrmando” skewers Ron Howard’s version of the Dan Brown potboiler with a brilliant angle I hadn’t thought of.
A great irony occurs to me, which seems to have escaped Brown, Howard, and the screenwriters: at the end of the film, we learn that Illuminati involvement in the plot is a myth, fabricated by McKenna to divert suspicion from himself. Furthermore, no one seriously suspects the Illuminati until Langdon shows up and starts “discovering” clues that are tailor-made to fit in with his paranoid fantasies. McKenna admits when he first meets Langdon that it was his idea to bring Langdon there. And indeed it was — Langdon becomes an essential but unwitting pawn in the plot, fanning the flames through his own gullibility, which very nearly leads to McKenna’s success. If we assume that McKenna’s real goal is to become pope rather than blow up the Vatican, it becomes obvious that he couldn’t accomplish it without Langdon on hand to stir everyone up. The misdirection part of McKenna’s plot depends on a pack of lies about the Illuminati — and because they are lies, no one in the Vatican is familiar with them. That’s why he needs to bring Langdon in.
So Langdon is not the brilliant hero of this film … he’s the patsy. The plot is so preposterous that only he would believe it.
Zing! Wish I’d thought of that.