Inferno (2016)
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Inferno (2016)

In the preponderance of cases when a movie moves from the standalone film to a sequel and hopefully onto a trilogy, the time between movies is usually a span of only a year or two. When the best-selling series of mystery novels from Dan Brown first made into a film, ‘The Da Vinci Code,' it was 2006 with the follow-up film, ‘Angels and Demons’, following three years later. It’s been 15 years since the intrepid professor of symbology, Robert Langston (Tom Hanks), left the academic comfort of Harvard University to roam the globe in search of clues that would solve the mystery that in turn would save the world. During that time Mr. Hanks is not resting on his laurels. He has appeared in such biographical movies as ‘Sully,' ‘Captain Phillips’ and ‘Saving Mr. Banks’. By making a simple observation c regarding the director of the movie; Ron Howard was multiple talents tpically applied towards his gift for production. Unfortunately, this film was unable to provide a suitable platform to showcase the immeasurable talents of both of these extraordinary gentlemen. The by first viewing of the film my initial reaction was that Mr. Hanks has become so accustomed to providing portrayals of real people with incredible stories to tell that he seemed to have had trouble dialing it back to assume the role of an unlikely and usually unwilling action hero. As for Mr. Howard, spending very little of his time nt behind the camera in the director’s chair. The only notable exceptions were several documentaries that although Bill Don and interesting, it represented a significant departure the directorial requirements necessary to relate a fictional narrative to the audience properly. Its explaination hopefully, this can be explained by two highly demanded, multifaceted members of the entertainment community taking a bit of a break from exceptionally intense projects that is consumed their lives and careers over the last few years.

The movie starts in a ball of confusion as Robert Langston awakens in a hospital room barely able to focus usually wound on his scalp as evident by the blood-soaked bandage. He tries to struggle to sit up is pushed back by a young woman, Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) who informs him that he is the victim of a gunshot that grazes head resulting in a concussion causing retrograde amnesia. Langston can hardly be called many details of his life and has no recollection of recent events. The doctor wants to call the police, or the American consulate Langston refuses. Suddenly, they see a woman dressed in a police uniform begins killing the staff in the hallway. Sienna quickly locks the door to the hospital room and after hoping Langston progressed himself of the various tubes and IVs rushing him into an adjacent room. As they turn to leave gunshots pounded into the door leaving convex dents. They somehow make it to the streets, Langdon stumbling along in his hospital down in the policewoman joined by other emergency response teams in what appears to be private security contractors immediately sent to contain the pair and apprehend Langston. We soon learned that the original policewoman was a deadly assassin, Vayentha (Ana Ularu); whose services engaged by a mysterious organization desperate to apprehend Dr. Langston. One of the main assumptions will make Ron Howard has made in directing this film is that his primary audience is going to be fans of the previous two films. Adhering to that assumption allows him to go any amount of lengthy exposition explaining who Langston is connecting his specialty to the resolution of changing mysteries. Instead, the opening provides a bifurcated motivation for the expansion of the story. The mystery is bought by why these people at the Langston, although spans of the franchise will realize that this is not an uncommon situation for him. Second, it reinforces the fact that this movie will be based intense action scenes that knowing Mr. Howard’s penchant cinematic balance will most certainly be used as a spice, not the main dish.

Mysteries immediately deepened but Sienna takes Langston to her apartment explaining to them that they are in Florence, not Boston as he believed. His memories are still fragmented and plagued with horrifying scenes of people suffering and tortured, amputees lying in the streets and all the hellish scenes. That is clarified in short order as he goes through his clothing bonding a high-tech cylinder used to contain and transport biologically toxic samples. Despite his trepidation and that of Sienna criticize the only course of action is to depress his thumb on the scanner and open the cylinder. Inside is another cylinder this one made of human bone. Upon shaking, he hears that there’s something inside leading them to believe that it is a Faraday pointer. Upon shaking those up a submission charge to produce a light that would focus on the wall displays Botticelli’s painting of the circles of hell from Dante’s Inferno. Although his memory, so scattered that he cannot think of the name of that brown drink people commonly have breakfast, he can recognize some alterations made to the famous painting. From that, he discerned that alterations were maded to each level including figures within it branded with letters. Realizing the letters form an anagram Langston realizes that they are facing a puzzle that must be solved immediately. To paraphrase a settlement expressed in the previous film, "Thank God the symbologist is here."

De rigueur for the Dan Brown cinematic franchise sequential clues scattered throughout the city when Dr. Langston accompanied by Dr. Brooks all pulled from one dire situation to the next as they follow the enigmatic clues. The unexplained twist occurred when they discovered that Langston with the help of a colleague stole the death mask of Dante from the museum. Opening up the avenue two additional clues Langston can determine that a billionaire microbiologist and humanist, Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) has created a human pathogen within approximately 50% fatality rate. This hypothesis is that the world’s population is doubling and increasing at a rapid rate and within a few years the sheer biomass of humanity overwhelmed the planet’s ability to sustain life. He also noted that this had been self-correcting in the past when the population had been rolled back by maive infection. The billionare’s insidous plaguge involving the release of the Inferno vius. The resulting pandemic would eliminate a sufficient number of people to give the survivors a chance for a somewhat viable life, putting into play two opposed organizations wanting for Langston in the Faraday pointer, a consortium established to realize the scenario concocted by Zobrist, and the World Health Organization determined to stop it at all course.

This plot line thematically differs from the previous two movies. In both the ‘Da Vinci Code and ‘Angels and Demons’ global change would be affected by manipulation of the Catholic Church rippling outward to the rest of humanity. But this sinister plot many of the details and therefore the clues revolve around the various circles of hell as first imagined by Dante. Fundamentally he was the author of the current perception of hell that has lasted for over 700 years. It is the purpose of the consortium to utilize the virus to bring such an unimaginable degree of death to the earth that the survivors will be more robust and deserving to live. The introduction of a timeline, the perennial favorite ticking clock, combined with one of the most overused and plot contrivances, the sword of Damocles, the feeling with the audience that is manufactured comes or courses artificial, sports by marginal plot points and themes within the story that are highly dependent on too many coincidences. At least in this particular opus, Tom Hanks was allowed to pull back from the outrageous hairstyle typically associated with Robert Langdon. The movie is fast-paced and as noted diving headlong" mystery and action but for fans of the previous two films, a group that happens to be the major demographic here, almost every plot point that is anticipated finds its realization within the two hours of the film. While reasonably good Saturday afternoon popcorn flick mostly for the action content, the ‘mysteries’ are too obvious to be effective.

bulletDeleted & Extended Scenes
bulletRon Howard, A Directors's Journal
bulletA Look at Langdon
bulletThe Billionaire Villian: Bertrand Zorbist
bulletThis is Sienna Brooks
bulletInferno Around the World
bulletVisions of Hell

02/02/2017

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