‘Inferno’ goes down in flames
“Inferno,” the third installment of the “Robert Langdon” trilogy, succeeding “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons,” was released last Friday. Though the first two were subjected to mediocre reviews, Ron Howard returned to helm the third film as director. Based on Dan Brown’s fourth Robert Langdon book, “Inferno” revolves around a conspiracy involving a billionaire’s endeavor to fix the Earth’s overpopulation problem. He plans to release a plague to infect billions of people but is forced to commit suicide to avoid being captured by the World Health Organization.
This film is fun but terribly flawed. In the thick of it all, Tom Hanks delivers another good performance. At times, it just seems his character is an extension of his personality sprinkled with an encyclopedic knowledge of symbols and religious history. His dedication to stunt performance during chase scenes and explosions is very impressive given his age of 59 at the time of shooting.
His co-star, Felicity Jones, played Hanks’ third disposable female sidekick in the trilogy. While her performance was serviceable, I personally find her expressionless. Ben Foster, who blew me away in my recent favorite “Hell or High Water,” plays the billionaire behind the apocalyptic scheme. His role in “Inferno” leaves him underused and trapped in flashbacks.
Howard, known for “Apollo 13,” “Rush” and “A Beautiful Mind,” once again provided suspense and drama that fit well within the plot. As with “Da Vinci” and “Angels,” Howard is trapped within the bounds of a weak script. Within the body of this movie, its poor skeleton leads the film to collapse on itself.
David Koepp’s script is flawed and laced with plot holes, unnecessary scenes and character motivation not fleshed out to its full potential. While you may blame Dan Brown for this, it was Koepp’s responsibility to at least improve upon and fix the source material. The studio was brave enough to change certain plot points found in the book but not enough to take liberties with the poor writing.
Though the film seems plagued with narrative problems, I won’t deny that it was a fun film to watch in the moment. Some scenes within the mediocre film stand out in quality; however once I think about the rest of the plot, it frustrates and disappoints me to a point where I no longer enjoyed it as much as I did in the theater.
Films like these are more serviceable as a last resort or while flipping through channels but should not be sought after — similar to the other films in the trilogy. Hans Zimmer’s consistently beautiful score does not save “Inferno” from a C-, borderline D+, grade. Among the other two films, it ranks as second, above “The Da Vinci Code” and below “Angels & Demons.”
In the coming week, I recommend seeing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest addition, “Doctor Strange,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch alongside a group of pedigreed actors in a world revolving around magic, parallel realities and heroics. If you are one who has grown tired of superhero movies, I also recommend “Hacksaw Ridge,” a film taking place in Okinawa during World War II. Surrounded by those calling him a coward, a conscientious objector sticks to his belief of a nonviolent contribution in war and saves 75 mortally wounded soldiers from both the allied and enemy lines.