Angels & Demons

The holiest event of our time. Perfect for their return.

Thriller Mystery
138 min     6.7     2009     Italy


Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is recruited by the Vatican to investigate the apparent return of the Illuminati - a secret, underground organization - after four cardinals are kidnapped on the night of the papal conclave.


John Chard wrote:
Faith is a gift I have yet to receive. Angels and Demons is directed by Ron Howard and adapted to screenplay by David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman from the Dan Brown novel of the same name. It stars Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard, Pierfrancesco Favino, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Armin Mueller- Stahl. Music is scored by Hans Zimmer and cinematography by Salvatore Totino. Symbologist Robert Langdon (Hanks) is summoned to Rome and asked by the Vatican to help when four cardinals are kidnapped. Upon examining a tape recording that announces that the cardinals will be killed one at a time hourly, Langdon places the crime at the door of the ancient Illuminati. It's a race against time to not only try and save the lives of the cardinals, but also to avert the detonation of an anti-matter bomb which will destroy Vatican City. In spite of The Da Vinci Code making gargantuan amounts of cash, there were many who actively hated the movie. Yet this follow up from Howard and his makers still enticed just under $500 million's worth of worldwide paying punters into see it. Ultimately it's a very different movie to Da Vinci, where that film was sombre and talky, and had a great religious hook that caused tremors in Christianity, Angels and Demons is a pacey race against time serial killer thriller. Albeit one that is still religion based and additionally topped up with some sci-fi gubbins. The ticking time bomb format works well as a cliff hanger and the narrative allows Langdon and his latest lady investigator, CERN scientist Vittoria Vettra (Zurer), scope for no-nonsense detective work. There's a good solid mystery story at the heart, one which doesn't veer to being over complicated, and the production value is of a very high standard. Casting is first class, with McGregor and Skarsgard complimenting the reliable, and thankfully new haircut sporting, Hanks. It's a little draggy in the mid-section, as history comes crashing into the mix and the makers feel the need to be cerebral, and the finale is bizarre if wholly appropriate, but herein lies the problem… If you can judge it on its own terms, not as a Dan Brown novel recreation and a link to bad memories of Da Vinci Code (not me, I liked it well enough actually)? Then it's a film of simple pleasures. If not then it kind of goes without saying that you probably already dislike the movie! 7.5/10