Inferno

When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.

 

Director: Ron Howard

Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Irrfan Khan, Omar Sy, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ana Ularu, Ida Darvish

Rated: PG-13 (sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality)

 

Inferno

By Cole Schneider

What is it that made two of the most renowned movie presences of our time, Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard, decide to stamp such a large portion of their late careers to a series as vapid as this? The third in what is now a trilogy of Dan Brown novels they have brought to the big screen, “Inferno” follows “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons” without the improvements necessary to make it worthwhile.

“Inferno” opens with Dr. Langdon (Hanks) in a hospital bed and suffering from amnesia. From there we’re force fed a series of twists, each of which suffer from one of the two cardinal sins of mystery storytelling: we either mutter with insipidity that we saw that coming or we throw up our hands in frustrated familiarity that they are stringing us along for a narrative that turns without clues or hints. The effect is that we are distanced from the mystery, cast off from the story.

Stories can still succeed with distance, but there needs to be something else; maybe some comedy or entertainment value. Here, “Inferno” compounds its problems. It may have seemd that Hanks and Howard—two brilliant comic minds—would be just the right people to give an otherwise comatose story some life, but instead they are swallowed up into the overwhelming banality all around them and we, the audience, are the victims.

Hanks is even joined by a cast of great talent—Felicity Jones, Irrfan Khan, Ben Foster, and more—each of whom is put to little use. Theaters are pretty barren right now, but don’t put yourself through a third episode of this expositional nonsense.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

Inferno

By Matt Greene

When a sequel is greenlit, it’s usually fulfills one of the following criteria: 1) the continuing of a larger story; 2) the longing to spend more time with characters who are unique, compelling, familiar, or funny. These Langdon films, based on the Dan Brown novels, have neither. Instead, after 3 entries in the religious conspiracy series, it’s becoming clear that they’re just an excuse for Howard and Hanks to travel to beautiful foreign locales and crap out a movie while there. Inferno continues this trend with 2 hours of colorlessly somber adults, delivering colorlessly somber dialogue, within a colorlessly somber plot.

If you haven’t seen Da Vinci Code or Angels & Demons, don’t worry; they’re all soulless, basically the same, and have no story-ties to one another. The normally dependable Hanks continues his flaccid performance as the dull and completely un-empathetic Langdon, spouting constant exposition with the passion of a drowsy tollbooth worker.

It’s perfectly telling that this movie treats discovering a hidden anagram like an exciting car chase, musical-score boost and all. Most of this “thriller” is stupid character decisions, plot contrivances, and flimsy conspiracy maps that even an illuminati-obsessed YouTuber would roll their eyes at.

I don’t get it, these are talented people. Franchise newcomers Foster and Jones do their best to portray compelling characters, Hanks is (normally) at least likable, and Howard has some nice visual moments. But with Hell or High Water, Rogue One, Sully, and Eight Days a Week, their all involved in much more interesting projects this year. So when Jones’ character quips, “It’s nice to have you back, professor.”, let’s make something clear: “No. It’s really not.”

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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