Directed by Ron Howard.
Starring Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Omar Sy, Sidse Babbett Knudsen and Irrfan Khan.
When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.
Whilst the previous Dan Brown adaptations The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons are silly, I still found them to be an enjoyable and entertaining couple of hours in the cinema. The same cannot be said for the third instalment Inferno.
This time around Dr Robert Langdon (Hanks) is suffering from a serious head wound and apocalyptic visions. He is discombobulated and without his usual set of skills. Helped along by ER Doctor Sienna Brooks (Jones) they set out to track down and stop the release of a deadly pathogen created by doomsday billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Foster). The idea of culling the population to save mankind is not explored to in any detail and except for an opening sequence in Florence, Ben Fosters’ Zobrist is reduced from the main villain to a supporting character who is shown either doing TED style talks or overly sentimental and romanticised flashbacks. If you have an actor of Foster’s quality on hand, why not use him?
Whilst the previous films’ plots can’t be accused of being simple, they are nowhere near as convoluted as Inferno. You have Langdon’s initial confused perspective (lots of blurred camera work, visions etc), the W.H.O. chasing the pair, a security company trying to help out as well as numerous other one note baddies turning up all over the place. It’s overly complicated and there are many threads which are brought up and not explored. The over complication seems to have been put in place to cover up characters real motivations but any film goer with half a brain can tell the characters real motivations as soon as they meet them.
Whilst Tom Hanks has never in my opinion delivered a bad performance, here he is sleep walking through the part of Robert Langdon. There isn’t much to the character and Hanks is reliable as ever. The head wound and lack of certainty do rob him of his charm and charisma which is a real shame. Felicity Jones as Sienna Brooks is adequate but not memorable and the rest of the supporting cast just don’t look like they want to be there. The only actor who seems to be enjoying themselves is Irrfan Khan as security boss Harry Sims. The mood changes as soon as he’s on the screen and he brings much needed levity to overly dense and dreary story.
Unusually for Ron Howard, the direction is sloppy. There’s an over reliance on flashbacks to tell the story and it seems at times that he’s shooting a tourist video for Italy and ticking off all the major sites that he can. The whole film plods along with an uneven Hans Zimmer score that at times feels like he’s been watching too much Stranger Things.
Inferno is entertaining in places but is ultimately the weakest of a trio of films that have never quite lived up to the hype.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★