Inferno Review: Not Better Than the Book

Film director Ron Howard’s latest movie “Inferno” did not live up to expectations. It’s better kept in its written version.

“Inferno,” the third book of Dan Brown’s fictional book series, is much like his previous two films “The DaVinci Code” and “Angels & Demons..” Tom Hanks plays the lead, Yale professor and “symbologist” Robert Langdon, who is forced to solve puzzles and conspiracy theories, as well as save mankind from a lethal virus.

Ultimately, the film has far more comedic elements than what you’d expect from what is supposed to be a serious action-drama.

There are no surprises here. Instead, there’s a dragged out sense of suspense and curiosity, which is reminiscent of the previous two movies and makes “Inferno” nothing more but predictable. The cast-wide performances failed to bring out the finer qualities of the prior two films. Important information from the book is left out, causing “Inferno” to fall flat.

This time Langdon is accompanied by a British doctor, Sienna Brooks, played Felicity Jones. Jones, known for her role as Juliette in the action movie “Collide” and mostly B-listed movies, didn’t impress much with her performance in “Inferno.”

The plot, set in Florence Italy and like the sequel to “Da Vinci Code,” leaves the viewer baffled. The atmosphere resembles similarities to the prior films, but there’s this religious feeling of hell on earth and a call for rebirth in “Inferno,” which differs from the previous plots. The cultural, as well as the educational experience, is by far the most interesting and realistic aspect. It’ll keep you patiently waiting, while Hanks and Jones try to decode another mystery.

At one point in the film, Langdon wakes up in a hospital with a head injury seems as confused as the viewer. He has no memory of where he is and how he got there. When he finally glares out the window, he recognizes Florence but is unsure why he traveled to this destination. Fueled by visions, caused by his amnesia, Langdon is brought back to reality by an austere woman, with gun-a-blazing. Dr. Brooks is able to lock the door from the inside and magically escapes to the streets with the weak Langdon holding on, like a dying soldier. This scene is one of many that drags on and simply fills time.

With no real authenticity and focus, it’s a prime example of what went wrong with “Inferno.”

The story continues with blanks in between, the excitement is high for a brief moment, but it’s replaced with confusion. Langdon’s memory seems to finally return, at least his symbolic memory because quite frankly he has trouble remembering “the brown liquid stuff, people drink in the morning.” A dialogue which is suppose to be funny seems stiff and weak, the content is incoherent in order for it to make sense. Aside from decoding a mystery, “Inferno” involves a lot more running away from various entities to get from one city to another in order to save humankind.

Hanks’ character in the previous sequels is strong and believable. So much so that it’s hard to understand the difference that appears in “Inferno.” Jones’ character has an interesting twist, but because Howard left out major details from the book, her character is ambiguous. Although, it’s briefly noticeable that Langdon and Brooks build some type of bond that doesn’t need words, it is detailed stronger in the book by Brown, which importance is missing in the plot.

The premise of “Inferno” is strong, but it didn’t translate well from its screenplay origin by David Koepp. The alteration of the screenplay by Koepp would have had contributed to a stronger, clearer storyline with realistic aspects instead. The end results is a disappointment. Based on this film, the relationship between Brown and Howard has run its course.

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Isabell Rivera

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