Highs and Lows

KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH / AP

CAMERA ACTION: Kirsten Dunst waves

The anticipation for the opening-night film was so sizable, so tense and tangy, it was almost erotic. Think of it: a big new movie from an Oscar-winning quartet — star Tom Hanks, director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman. Yet nearly as soon as The Da Vinci Code began, the critics fell into a peckish mood. At the end of a long, soggy film, the black-tie swells went off to their parties, and the critics slumped away to write their regretful pans.

Though we didn't know it then, The Da Vinci Code experience would turn out...

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