IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 121 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
Billionaire geneticist Bertrand Zobrist, who believes that the world is overpopulated and that rigorous measures are necessary, commits suicide while being chased by others. Meanwhile Liberty University professor Robert Langdon awakens in a hospital room in Florence, Italy, with no memory of what has transpired over the last few days, but being plagued with visions of Hell. Dr. Sienna Brooks, who is tending to him, tells him that he is suffering from amnesia as a result of a bullet wound to his head. An assassin turns up to kill Langdon and Sienna helps him to escape. Among Langdon’s personal belongings, they find a “Faraday pointer”, a miniature image projector, with a modified version of Botticelli’s Map of Hell, which itself is based on Dante’s Inferno. They figure out that Zobrist has created a virus with the potential of decimating the world’s population. In the meantime, they have been traced by both the assassin and local law enforcement….
Better in a few ways than the two previous Robert Langdon adventures but worse in lots of others ones, Inferno [would you believe it, this is the 13th film of that title if you include a few TV movies] still leaves this critic with the impression that Dan Brown’s books are either very poor or just don’t adapt very well to the cinema, though apparently the dark and thought provoking ending to Inferno the book has been changed to a standard Hollywood action movie conclusion. If Angels And Demons was a slightly livelier affair than The Da Vinci Code, Inferno, which rehashes Angels And Demons quite a bit, has an Bourne movie-like pace to it as our hero and heroine are chased all over the place and rush to stop a madman with a deadly plot, but this pace is so fast that it’s hard to keep up with who is chasing who, or who is working for who, at times, and the story just isn’t given time to breath. Worse than that, the whole thing seems to have been shot by a person who can’t keep a handheld camera still, and the ‘shakycam’ towards the end turns the action into a headache inducing blur. It’s a shame to see veteran filmmakers like Ron Howard, who should know better, stooping to this. There’s also some really bad editing in the first half where the film seems to almost randomly jump from scene to scene and the music [Hans Zimmer on autopilot again] that’s accompanying them simply gets cut and another track begins for the next scene. I wouldn’t be surprised if a longer director’s cut comes out on Blu-ray which will turn it into a more coherent and tidy film.
Still, this one does contain probably the most exciting sequence in the series [a tense pursuit on ceiling beams], it’s interesting to have a villain who is not just dead but who may actually have a point, and Langdon’s visions of Hell on Earth provide a rather horrific dimension despite some ropey CGI, though generally this one doesn’t seem to take itself very seriously and lacks the self importance that really ruined The Da Vinci Code where it seemed like you were being asked to take the nonsense that Brown made up very seriously indeed. Saying that, the puzzle solving which was one of the most fun things about the other two films is a bit lacking here because the puzzles are manufactured by a modern day character and are solved extremely quickly. 60 year old Tom Hanks looks in poor shape for his part and the usually fine Felicity Jones fails to make the best of her intriguing role, but things pick up whenever Irffan Khan is on screen, the actor creating a quirky and even amusing character from what was probably nothing in the screenplay. Inferno manages to just about pass the time as escapist hokum, but almost feels like a quickly and cheaply made cash-in on the earlier movies.