INFERNO (USA | Japan | Turkey | Hungary/15A/121mins)
Directed by Ron Howard. Starring Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen
THE PLOT: When Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes up in a Florence hospital with no memory of how he got there, he probably thinks his day could not get any worse… Then someone starts shooting at him. Enlisting the help of ER doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), Langdon sets out on an adventure across Italy and beyond to find out what happened on the days he can’t remember, and why everyone seems to be out to kill him.
THE VERDICT: Based on the novel of the same name by Dan Brown, ‘Inferno’ is Robert Langdon’s third outing on the big screen; reuniting Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard for this new adventure. With a feel of Indiana Jones and James Bond rolled into one, ‘Inferno’ promises to be a thrill ride, but it just ends up feeling a little silly.
It is hard not to love Tom Hanks – his turn in Carly Rae Jepsen’s video for ‘I Really Like You’ was a particular high point – but Inferno wastes Hanks’ considerable talents. Hanks manages to make Langdon likeable – even though we learn little about the character other than he lost his Mickey Mouse watch and he likes puzzles – and his knowledge of Florentine anterooms seems a little unlikely. Felicity Jones does fine as Sienna Brooke; it feels as though the actress is getting her action movie on in preparation for Rogue One later this year, but she does well with the little she has. The rest of the cast features Ben Foster, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan and Sidse Babett Knudsen round out the cast.
David Koepp adapted Dan Brown’s novel for the big screen, and although each of Robert Langdon’s other cinematic outings were rather silly, they had a grounding in religion and art for the most part. ‘Inferno’ struggles with an even sillier plot than the films that have gone before, and a feel that the entire film was inspired by telenovellas, James Bond and Indiana Jones, while being a watered down version of each. There is enough mystery to keep the audience going, for the most part, but the twists and turns are obvious and the sense of gleeful joy that made Indiana Jones – a very similar character to Robert Langdon – so much fun, is missing here. As well as this, Brown’s novels were at there most popular over a decade ago, and it is obvious that this wane in popularity has led to a lacklustre story.
Ron Howard does fine as director, but he never manages to make ‘Inferno’ properly exciting, or give us any character development at all. The pacing is a struggle for much of the movie, as is the tangled storyline of crosses and double crosses that Howard never manages to clear up fully.
In all, ‘Inferno’ is, for want of a better term, a hot mess. Robert Langdon has gone from professor to super spy, and everything in the film either feels convenient or too convoluted for it to be fully satisfying. Add to this a patronising tone and a waste of Tom Hanks, and ‘Inferno’ burns out before it begins.
RATING: 2/5
Review by Brogen Hayes