‘Inferno’ Review – Fails to Ignite

Dan Brown’s red hot novel ‘The Da Vinci Code’ took over the world back in the early 2000s. So it wasn’t surprising that it was turned into a feature length movie in 2006, which was swiftly followed by the prequel ‘Angels & Demons’ in 2009. Fast forward to today, and there is a 3rd chapter in the series, ‘Inferno’, based on Brown’s 2013 novel of the same name. What we get is a film with neither suspense or logic!

Tom Hanks returns once again as Prof Robert Langdon, the world famous Symbologist. This time, he is joined by Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) as they gallivant around photogenic Europe on an another cryptic mission against the clock.

So the plot, it revolves around a deluded billionaire who has decided that the world has been overpopulated, he has created a virus, which he plans to unleash in order to bring down the global population. It’s once again down to Langdon to use his wits and beat the clock before the virus is released.

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The spin in this film is that Langdon suffers a head injury, which leaves him with amnesia regarding his last few days. This in turn sets up a ‘who’s telling the truth’ angle, where it appears several people are after him, but who is he to trust? The amnesia plot is rather sporadic, he will randomly recall key moments at pivotal points in the film, and also recall personal details like passwords, but not the word for coffee. The film does try to poke fun at itself for it, but it doesn’t make it any better.

The film copies the usual pattern from previous films, visiting museums & ancient  monuments, finding a hidden clue, then moving on to the next place of interest. The theme of the puzzles here is on the 14th century poem, ‘Dante’s Inferno’, which you will hear a lot throughout the film! The problem here though, is that there is never really any tension, you never feel like that they are on the run from the WHO (who are like the CIA?!) and as usual, in Dan Brown Assassin (Ana Ularu) working for the shady ‘Consortium’ organisation. They walk around in plain sight, take no effort into actually hiding themselves (not even a disguise!), and even when their surrounded by the authorities, they still take they cosy time to solve the puzzle! They never show any urgency!

Omar Sy
Omar Sy in Columbia Pictures’ “Inferno,” starring Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones.

Of course there are plot twists, which is expected, but the betrayals are very easy to spot, it’s pretty obvious which characters will turn on our hero. Some of the scenes just don’t  make sense. How does our betrayer manage to get across Europe on their own, quicker than our hero in his private jet? How are they not even caught at the airport? Considering they don’t even have the required skills to evade customs etc. The Killer Virus their trying to stop? What is it? How does it work? We’re told nothing. It’s also stored in a plastic bag! At one point, Langdon is saved by the leader of our shady organisation from out of nowhere! How did he find him? No one knew where he was!

The cast is solid, but not spectacular. Hank’s does great as usual, a hero who uses his intelligent and knowledge is a refreshing change from all the Jason Bourne-lite protagonists we’re used to. Irrfan Khan, who also appeared in Jurassic World is stellar as the steely head of the Consortium. Felicity Jones really does not do much to make us care for her character. She hardly seems bothered for the duration of the film, I haven’t read the novel, but I’m sure the character had more personalty then what was in the film!

Overall, the film isn’t really all that compelling, and at over 2 hours,it can really drag on. The journey itself is more of an advert for where you may want to go on a weekend break! Florence, Venice & Istanbul all look sublime! The audience for these films is dwindling, and from the looks of it, so is the future prospects of this film franchise.

PS. The killer virus was stored in a plastic bag, a plastic bag………

 

 

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