Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Sidse Babett Knudsen
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…a solid piece of entertainment whose deficiencies came attached at the source.
After waking up in a Florentine hospital with amnesia, Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and his nurse, Sienna (Felicity Jones), are immediately shot at and forced to flee. Very quickly a puzzle emerges, and through the clues encoded in a projection of Botticelli’s “Map Of Hell”, they learn that an eccentric bio-engineer named Zobrist (Ben Foster) is planning to unleash the Inferno virus: a deadly plague designed to solve humanity’s over-population problem by wiping most of it out. Of course, nothing and no one are as it seems. Langdon’s world and sketchy memories have been designed to confuse and obfuscate by the nefarious figures tailing him at every step.
In a movie about a conspiracy, it’s a major problem when the conspiracy ends up being its most superfluous attribute. The problem with Inferno is that – by the end – all the obfuscation seems like a very round-about, unnecessary way of getting at something very simple.
Stripped of its calculating guises, the film is just about a maniac trying to release a virus, and not much more. So while the trip that it takes to reach that underwhelming point is fun, the point itself is still underwhelming, because it can’t live up to the elaborate route that it took to get there. What compounds this disappointment further is the sheer contrivance of the main twist. The about-face done by one main character is completely unconvincing, and entirely contrived when it comes without a single suggestion beforehand. From there it veers into autopilot while Langdon arbitrarily reconnects with the lost love (Sidse Babett Knudsen) that he left behind years before.
Based on Dan Brown’s pulp bestseller of the same name, Inferno is the third pairing of Hanks and Ron Howard in a series that previously included Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. While Hanks’ typical everyman grounds the film, Howard delivers a solid piece of entertainment whose deficiencies came attached at the source.