Movie Reviews

Flaming Mess (Inferno Review)

Famous symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) follows a trail of clues tied to Dante, the great medieval poet. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman named Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) from unleashing a virus that could wipe out half of the world’s population.

Have you ever watched a film based on a book and had a bad reaction because it was not as good as it should be? The only ever time I had this experience was with the original Da Vinci Code film. I was a big fan of the Dan Brown novel that I simply hated the film to the point where I had to stop myself from yelling at the screen. I also read Brown’s followup Angels and Demons but I did not bother with that one. Since I do what I do now, I went ahead with this new addition, based on a book I haven’t read. I will say that I did not have the same reaction this time.

In this addition, symbologist Robert Langdon (Hanks) wakes up with amnesia in an Italian hospital where he meets a doctor named Sienna Brooks (Jones). Over time, both Langdon and Brooks must race to uncover a trail of clues based on the poet Dante and stop a crazed billionaire named Bertrand Zobrist (Foster) from unleashing a virus that could kill half of the world’s population. All of this is easy to forget this as Langdon and Brooks are seemingly being chased from locale to locale for reasons which are not always clear.

It took a very long time for those reasons to become clear as the film’s rather convoluted story slowly began to unravel. The film already didn’t start under the clearest of circumstances so not knowing what was going on made things boring to watch. What made it even worse was the fact that it was trying too hard, bordering on pretentious, just made it more confusing. As the film went on, it got harder to care about what was happening.

While Langdon and Brooks were running around, they had to contend with several parties who all had different intentions for the virus. Despite dying early on, Zobrist still had a plan set for the virus and it was up to Langdon and Brooks, through Zobrist’s clues to find it. Over time, he quickly became an afterthought. They also contended with the WHO with Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudson) and Christoph Bouchard (Omar Sy). Both appear to be interested in the virus for good reasons but the film makes one of them a double agent working for themselves, making it complicated for Langdon who has a past history with Sinskey. Lastly, they had to deal with the CEO of a private security company named Harry Sims (Irrfan Khan). Why is he there? Who knows.

In terms of suspense, action thrillers, this one was standard fare. Nothing will come as much of a surprise with its predictable twists and turns. Watching Langdon and Brooks run around was not as exciting as it should have been because there was never a sense of danger. This was due to the film’s derivative nature, convoluted story, and underdeveloped characters. The locales were nice to look at though. The way they always managed to get through situations felt a little too contrived. The film’s big twist, which again shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, was stupid and forced.

The acting way okay with Hanks being the obvious standout. Hanks is likable here as always but that only goes so far. He simply goes through the paces here as Langdon with a constant confused look. This is still good enough for Hanks as he was still compelling to watch and would definitely not have worked as well with anyone else. Jones as Brooks was wooden here with no emotional whatsoever. Her relationship with Langdon was very one-sided as he basically carried her from scene to scene. The rest of the supporting cast were okay but with the messy story, it almost didn’t matter.

Overall, this was a derivative, convoluted mess that not even Tom Hanks can save.

Score: 4.5/10

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