Film Review – Inferno
“If Dante’s Inferno was less like poetry and more like prophecy”
As someone who hasn’t read the book Inferno was based on, I would like to say that this film makes it on my list of top 10 movies to watch this fall. I enjoy a good twist and Robert Langdon is a character you can root for. So, if you’re up for car chases, secret organizations and “didn’t-see-that-coming” plot twists, you’d enjoy watching this film. Quite well-written (David Koepp, screenplay and Dan Brown, novel’s author), this film makes your heartbeat quicken and your brain do a double-take – although it’s all explained towards the end and you leave with a resolved “Ooooooooh!”. And if you’re a complete nerd – which I disclose that I’m not nearly as brilliant as professors and scholars, but love the intelligent undercurrent – and want to follow along with Langdon’s deductions, I imagine you’ll have a grand ol’ time following the clues.
Director Ron Howard brings some intensity and practical twisty suspense in his third Robert Langdon installment, although slightly disorganized and lacking proper “education” of Dante facts. If you don’t know jack shit about Dante, the film might just go right over your head. Even though I didn’t understand the connections Prof. Langdon was making, I enjoyed seeing the puzzles being solved and the “yes!” I felt when they were on the right track.
Tom Hanks once again reprises his role as the brilliant, code-breaking symbologist this time on a mission to get back his memories from the last 48 hours, touching on the same idea of lost memories as Memento – not knowing if he’s the bad guy or the good guy, but just trying to prove his innocence. After waking up in an Italian hospital with a gaping head wound and a quickly spreading rash, Langdon teams up with his attending doctor Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) to get his memory back and find out why the Italian police is shooting at him. Little does he know, she has an agenda of her own while playing the ruse of helpful, scared doctor to get him to trust her. Well, played Miss Brooks. You had ME fooled! Can’t trust anyone when you’ve been drugged and can’t remember what’s happened in the last 48 hours, can you?! The subtle nuances throughout the movie are subtle enough for me to miss and have revisited later in the movie to make sure you are able to connect the dots just as the characters have (ie. there are no locks on hospital doors….).
As Langdon’s memory begins to return and he remembers that he was called in by a long-time friend – and old flame – Agent Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen) of the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) to find a deadly virus that would wipe out 50% of the Earth’s population. With terrorists behind its cause doing everything to make sure the plan is carried out AND greedy business people who want the virus to sell to the highest bidder, it is a race to save the day.
“The greatest sins in human history were committed in the name of love.” ~ Dante
Despite the way that the screenwriters wrote the ending, the film is above average in my book. Set in beautiful Italy, the cinematography by Salvatore Totino was gloomy and morbid, with Langdon’s flashbacks being wild and interesting, connecting with the doom and gloom of the painting of Dante’s Inferno. The atmosphere was spot on. The history and beautiful art are displayed with a sort of draw that makes me curious to go see these places face-to-face. The film’s $75 million budget obviously went to shooting on location, high paid actors, flashy action scenes (like a woman police officer falling from a 50-foot high ceiling in the Palazzo Vecchio) and flashback computer graphics. An entertaining evening overall. I’d give this film an A in comparison to its two predecessors.