October 10, 2008

REVIEW ‘Bloodline’ Needs Transfusion of Fact Film’s an Anemic ‘Da Vinci Code’


Dan Brown's bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" posed the controversial theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, moved to France and fathered offspring who, in turn, spawned the bloodline that became part of French royalty.

For the millions who read the book or watched the movie, it was either believable or just an excuse for a page-turner. But was it true? Documentary filmmaker Bruce Burgess is determined to find out.

"Bloodline" -- showing Saturday and Sunday afternoons this weekend and next at the Times Cinema, 5906 W. Vliet St. -- chronicles his quest to find evidence that Jesus survived the crucifixion, and to prove that Jesus and Mary Magdalene later settled in France. He's been on similar pursuits; his previous TV films include "In Search of the Holy Grail,""The Bermuda Triangle Solved" and "Bigfootville."

Although Burgess professes to be skeptical, he's gullible enough to tag along with a man who conveniently finds buried bottles stuffed with old maps and clues that lead to a tomb in southern France. The tomb, which can't be entered but conveniently has a hole big enough to lower a video camera, contains a box of dusty treasure that looks like it came from a Hollywood studio prop room.

There's also a mummified corpse wrapped in a shroud. Is it Mary Magdalene? Burgess thinks so. Narrating in a clipped British accent, he says the corpse and treasure seem "too hard to fake."

Not if the basic tenet of Christianity -- that Jesus is the son of God and was resurrected -- is at stake, and an attention-seeker is looking to grab a share of the cash spent on "The Da Vinci Code."

"Bloodline" is filled with back-alley meetings with shady characters, audio interviews with people who want their identity protected because they fear for their safety and "Blair Witch Project"-shaky camera footage. None of it heightens the suspense of this tedious film.

Bloodline * 1/2

Behind the scenes: Produced by Rene Barnett. Written and directed by Bruce Burgess.

Not rated: brief language

Approximate running time: 113 minutes

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