Helmed by Ron Howard (who also directed “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”), “Inferno” is one big, messy roller-coaster ride through hell – literally. It’s not the worst in the franchise, but we don’t think that it fares well as compared to the other releases this season (i.e. “The Magnificent Seven”, “The Girl On The Train”, “Bridget Jones’s Baby”).
The film is based on Dan Brown’s 2013 best-selling book of the same name and “Inferno”, which means “hell” in Italian, centres on the first part of 14th century poet Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, “Divine Comedy”.
Veteran Hollywood actor Tom Hanks reprises his role as Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbology professor. 7 years after the 2nd sequel, “Angels and Demons”, Langdon finds himself in an Italian hospital in Florence, suffering from a very bad headache due to “mild retrograde amnesia”. The doctor in charge of him is Dr. Sienna Brooks (played by Felicity Jones), and she would later help him escape the hospital when a female “police” tries to kill him. During their escape, Langdon is troubled by gruesome visions/hallucinations of people with distorted figures, a bloody river, and a mysterious woman whose face is covered by a scarf.
So this is where it gets weird.
It’s very nice of Brooks, who is “coincidentally” a super fan girl of Dante, to help Langdon escape, but is it necessary for her to bring him to her apartment, help him regain his memories, and not call the police immediately? Right, we didn’t think so.
In the apartment, the pair discovers a faraday pointer that shows the image of Botticelli’s “Map Of Hell” (La Mappa dell’Inferno). It turns out that the map was modified by Bertrand Zobrist (played by Ben Foster), a much-followed billionaire, transhumanist scientist, and Dante fanatic who created a plague to save the world from overpopulation. To stop the plague from activation, Langdon, who doesn’t remember why he’s in Florence, must now “seek and find” (cerca trova) the plague within hours using his vast knowledge of symbols before any one of Zobrist’s supporters does.
At this point of the film, other important characters are introduced to viewers one by one. This includes Harry Sims (played by Irrfan Khan) aka The Provost, head of a private security and risk company; World Health Organisation’s Elizabeth Sinskey (played by Sidse Babett Knudsen), who has history with Langdon; Vayentha (played by Ana Ularu), the female “police”, whose real identity is actually an assassin; and Christoph Brüder (played by Omar Sy), head of the SRS team.
The whole treasure hunting quest eventually leads the pair to Vasari’s painting of “The Battle of Marciano” and Dante’s Death Mask in the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo, a basilica in Venice, and finally, the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul.
The film is full of plot twists and hidden agendas that are not all good. Though casting was well-executed, we can’t say the same for David Koepp’s script. Dubbed the 5th most successful screenwriter of all time in terms of US box office receipts, we think that Koepp’s screenplay is draggy, dull, and lacks intensity.
One example would be the pointless elaborative romance between Langdon and Sinskey. A little love line can add a nice, warm touch to the film if done well but the former flames’ irrelevant backstory and pointless, mushy dialogues made no contribution to the apocalyptic plot whatsoever. Is there really time for old people to flirt when a plague that can kill over 50% of world’s population in the course of a few hours is about to erupt? The answer is no.
But thanks to Salvatore Totino’s beautiful cinematography, we felt like we were on an European adventure, visiting some of Italy’s famous tourist attractions. Though the transition between frames aren’t great, the CGI effects for Langdon’s vision/hallucinations are pretty realistic and gory.
Despite its imperfections, we would still recommend that you watch “Inferno” as Tom Hanks’ performance is still worth watching, especially if you’ve watched “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”.
Watch the trailer for the film below:
“Inferno” is slated to be released in cinemas nationwide on 13th October 2016.
For more information, visit the film’s official Facebook page.