Having reviewed the latest "Da Vinci Code" trailer, it looks like director Ron Howard has given up on a sympathetic depiction of Silas, the murderin' monk with albinism. While there is no sign of the Satanic red eyes featured in the controversial novel, alabaster-haired actor Paul Bettany assumes a number of threatening poses. Bettany chokes protagonist Tom Hanks, stealthily leaps up a wall, and pulls some poor lackey's eyelids back. There also two (count 'em) shots of Silas mutilating himself. First he self-flagellates in front of a crucifix, his lacerated back shown in gory glory. Later he tightens his "cilice," the spiked band digging into his own bleeding thigh. Just in time for the holidays!
Not that there is anything wrong with portraying Silas as a psychopathic masochistic merciless violent zealot. He is a major villain of the book and film. The problem is linking this type of character, as have so many previous movies, with the genetic condition oculocutaneous albinism. It won't even help if Howard includes Silas' backstory, where his lethal tendencies are explained because he was raised as a misunderstood albino. Stigmatized because of his albinism, it follows naturally that he become a psychopathic masochistic merciless violent zealot. Wouldn't anyone with this genetic disorder do the same? If only Howard had opted against keeping Silas' albinism, the Academy award winning auteur could have dodged this sinister stereotype.
Care to comment?