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Midvale Journal

Dan's Review: "Inferno" isn't a heckuva movie

Oct 29, 2016 09:39PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones in Inferno - © 2016 – Columbia Pictures.

Inferno (Columbia)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality.

Starring Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Ben Foster, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Irrfan Khan, Ana Ularu.

Written by David Koepp, based on the novel by Dan Brown.

Directed by Ron Howard.



Dan Brown is contradictory author. On the one hand, he’s very detail-oriented, brilliantly weaving shadowing aspects of history, art and legend into his stories. On the other hand, he’s a subpar storyteller, overusing “Deus Ex Machina” coincidence/convenience, while stretching the limits of artistic and literary license and the suspension of reality. He also has a great talent for creating suspense, even though payoff doesn’t always satisfy. Such is the case for Inferno, the third Dan Brown novel to be adapted by Ron Howard with Tom Hanks portraying the hero Robert Langdon.

The story begins with Langdon waking up in a Florence, Italy hospital bed, incoherent, while experiencing visions of terror and Hell. At his bedside is the lovely Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), who also happens to be fan of the genius Harvard professor’s work with historic symbolism. All Hell breaks loose when a mysterious Italian police officer (Ana Ularu) shows up and begins shooting at Langdon and Sienna, who takes him back to her apartment for refuge. As his memory slowly comes back, Langdon discovers he’s in possession of a cryptic message left by billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), who killed himself three days prior after the World Health Organization closed in on him. The WHO was pursuing Zobrist because they know he had developed a bio-agent “plague” intended to wipe put most of the world’s population since he believed overpopulation would soon doom the planet. Langdon and Sienna go a quest to unlock historic and artistic clues involving Dante’s Inferno at museums in Italy and Turkey. Tailing them are WHO chief Elizabeth Sinsky (Sidse Babett Knudsen), who happens to be one of Langdon’s rare love interests, and Bouchard (Omar Sy), leader of the strike team assigned to recover Zobrist’s bio-agent. Meanwhile, Harry Sims (Irrfan Khan), the leader of a shadowy, private security firm, is also chasing after the fugitives. As with all Dan Brown stories, there’s a traitor among the main players, which complicates Langdon’s quest. Their paths lead them to Istanbul, where Zobrist’s sinister plague awaits.

Inferno is a suspenseful film, following the Dan Brown formula to a tee. We get to see Langdon running through the streets of Europe with a beautiful young brunette at his side (again), chasing cryptic bread crumbs to an elaborate puzzle (again) conveniently left behind in striking detail by the story’s antagonist (again). I already mentioned the convenience of having an “inside man/woman” traitor to keep our hero for being “too” clever, but such Dan Brown formulaic “surprises” are less surprising as the franchise continues.

There aren’t any standouts in Inferno’s supporting cast, but Tom Hanks’ performance is on par with his previous portrayals of Langdon, even though he’s starting to show signs of aging. 

Inferno is not a helluva movie, but it’s sufficient for a little suspense. 

Inferno Trailer