Inferno

October 16, 2016

We'd rather just watch Tom Hanks wander the great museums of the world with a Go-Pro strapped to his head and hear him whisper interesting tidbits and trivia.

 Enough of the Dan Brown franchise. It was fun while the going was good, but, please…no more.

 

The original film, The Da Vinci Code, ended up being surprisingly good - with director Ron Howard combining rollicking pace and genuine intrigue to keep audiences' hearts pumping from go to woe. Even the sequel, Angels and Demons, proved solid enough, albeit a film distinguishable from its predecessor more by scale than originality. By Inferno, however, it’s more than clear that the well has truly run dry.

 

Again we find our hero Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) in Italy, accompanied by a much younger female companion (Felicity Jones), together solving riddles and anagrams as they scramble from monument to monument whilst dodging assassins from a mysterious organisation and passing implausibly through both heavy security and lines of queueing tourists. It's Dante this time, not Da Vinci, but the rest feels far, far too familiar. Even the film's ticking time bomb is again an actual time bomb, with only its contents (a world-destroying virus instead of anti-matter) being the point of differentiation. Hanks oscillates between bored, tired and confused (and not just because the script calls for it), while everyone else seems far too blasé for a group possessed of the knowledge that the end of the world may be just a few short hours away. 

 

So are there, then, any redeeming features? No, not really, but the film does raise one interesting idea: international audio guides for tourists narrated by Academy Award winner Tom Hanks. The only moments of note in the movie are those where, once again, Hanks’s character offers clumsily inserted pieces of historical trivia into the narrative. They’re absolutely crow-barred in, but remain undeniably interesting, and when coupled with Hanks’s avuncular tone you can’t help but indulge in the ad hoc history lessons. If Ron Howard needs a new project, we’d suggest just strapping a go-pro to his favourite leading man and letting him roam wild in the galleries and gardens of the world’s grandest estates whilst pointing out tidbits and factoids as they arise. 

 

That’s something we’d spend some money on. Inferno, by contrast, isn’t.

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