Inferno (2016)

Dr. Robert Langdon once again finds himself in a race against time deciphering symbols hidden within classical art and literature to uncover the secrets and put a stop to the detination of a deadly virus that will cause another black plague and extinguish over half the world’s population.  This time Langdon has Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) as his sidekick as the two try to out run a team of assassins who are after Langdon across the beautiful Florentine and Venician landscape.

That’s one of the first things that struck me about Inferno: it’s setting. If you’ve ever been to Florence and fallen in love with it (the way I did last summer) you’ll know that it’s an absolutely beautiful city and the film really conveys that. The Robert Langdon trilogy have this ambience about them that makes the setting seem so grand and important and I guess that’s down Ron Howard. I know Felicity Jones said while she was filming she felt like she was in a Fellini movie because Italy is just so beautiful and classy. And Ron Howard shows that off wonderfully.

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Image credit: IMDB

Inferno could never be called a ‘slow’ movie. Despite being over two hours there’s very little time to stop and breathe; the opening sequence is punchy and tight using Florence’s close knit streets and claustrophobic buildings to provide a tense chase scene which is brought to an unexpected and abrupt end. After that, the action keeps coming. Not long after we meet our hero again, Langdon learns he isn’t in Harvard (where he thought he was) has a wound from a gun shot (that missed his head by inches) and is the target of an international assassin. If nothing else, Inferno makes for a fast and exciting viewing; the two hours of cinema fly by with the aid of a lot of action and engaging story.

However, it feels as though there is something missing. A wonderful setting, great action and a intrieguing story yet there’s still a need for more. Perhaps being a fan of Dan Brown’s novels isn’t the best when watching the adaptations. Reading the novels isn’t just a pass time it’s a learning experience. They’re so rich and thick with infornation that to me is fascinating. The novels provide a canvas where everything can be explained and enriched which is a luxury that a two hour film can’t afford. And unfortunately, it takes away from the overall experience.

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Image credit: IMDB

Like always, we see everything from Langdon’s point of view and considering he’s suffering memory loss from his head injury, not all the pieces of the puzzle are there throughout which gives Inferno the perfect opporutnity to change things unexpectedly and throw the viewer off course. So when a character who seemed to be on Langdon’s side switches, it should be a big shock but it’s overshadowed by the fact it came out of nowhere with little explanation. Only knowing the book, which luckily I did, would make it a reasonable shift.

Despite some faults with the adaptation, the cast were nothing short of great. As a big Tom Hanks fan I’m always delighted to watch him on screen, but as Robert Langdon I think he delivers the character perfectly. Felicity Jones also delivers a strong performance as the enigmatic Dr. Sienna Brooks but would have loved to see more of her backstory within the film.

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Image credit: IMDB

Overall, an enjoyable and exciting watch and jam-packed with loads of trivia and interesting theories of population control and human nature. The pacing was good and despite lacking depth in areas a decent adaptation of Dan Brown’s book. Not only is it pleasing on the eye but on the ear too: a beautiful score by Hans Zimmer only adds to the elegance that Inferno‘s setting has.

Let me know what you thought of Inferno!

Andrew. 

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