Tom Hanks returns for now the third time to play Robert Langdon, the university professor created by author Dan Brown. Both of the previous adaptations of Brown’s novels; ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons’ were to my liking so I was quite looking forward to ‘Inferno’. Could the third installment in this film series continue to up the quality? With director Ron Howard also returning for the third time I thought so.
The film is predominantly set in Italy and more specifically, Florence. This is quite clearly a very beautiful place and at times the film is able to capture this resulting in some striking visuals. The most is made of the locations here both on a large and a smaller scale, the highlight for me was the setting for the finale. The only issue with the visuals was when CGI was employed, it was a shame that these moments never quite matched the cinematography of the natural surroundings. Although we’ve come to expect deep religious and historical riddles from this series it’s almost also as much renowned for its chase sequences and moments of action. ‘Inferno’ is no different and does have some exciting action, the bookends of the film featuring the best of this. The music for these sequences was created by the mighty Hans Zimmer, with a quite odd score for a film with the themes that it holds. This score wouldn’t have been out of place in a futuristic sci-fi film but somehow it actually works here amongst theological symbols and cultured treasure hunts. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable aspects to the film. The cast for the film are largely good, there are a few supporting characters who feel out of place or not quite up to scratch though. Also more of Ben Foster wouldn’t have gone a miss.
Despite my genuine words of praise for ‘Inferno’ it’s often quick to catch fire with some burning issues. Bar the very first opening sequence the beginning of the film is unbearable. When we are first reunited with Langdon he is recovering from a head trauma and as the audience sees things from his perspective it’s a rather nauseating experience. Some might see this as skill from the director however the use of flashbacks and visions was overbearing here and I was seriously worried that this would carry on at the same intensity for the rest of the movie. Thankfully it doesn’t but there are several other problems that take its place. The narrative is quite flawed in that it’s painfully predictable from almost the first scene. If this wasn’t enough of a blow to the story as a whole the riddle and puzzle solving element here wasn’t great either. Riddles or clues would be solved as quickly as they were found here which took a lot of the fun out of the proceedings. Due to the lack of confidence in this area the pace of the film suffers, meaning that this two hour mystery felt like so much more. Thankfully the action discussed above eventually always comes to the rescue but when compared to its predecessors this vital part of the narrative felt a little neglected.
So although the narrative has many problems including predictability, and the pace of the film needs addressed in sections, ‘Inferno’ is still largely entertaining. The locations help keep the audience stimulated and thanks to the bursts of Zimmer’s score lifting the film even when your attention may be flagging you’ll be swept up into the adventure once more. Unfortunately ‘Inferno’ is the weakest of the Langdon trilogy to date and has maybe extinguished the momentum that came before it but regardless it will still entertain and fans of the series should find some enjoyment in it.
Rating – 6.5/10
Question: Which of the previous Robert Langdon movies did you enjoy most?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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