Inferno – Film Review by Robert Dooley
Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Dan Brown (based on the novel by), David Koepp (screenplay)
Stars: Ben Foster, Tom Hanks, Sidse Babett Knudsen
Inferno is the cinematic equivalent of when you and your friends are five or six drinks deep on a Friday evening and you make pronouncements that you feel are deeply philosophical and intellectual. You wake up the next day and realise you’re actually an idiot and you were talking complete and utter hogwash.
Tom Hanks reprises his role as the awfully haired Robert Langdon and he’s in a race against the clock chasing down the Inferno virus, left by Ben Foster’s recently deceased billionaire Bertrand Zobrist, before its released into the world and takes out half of the world’s population. He’s assisted in this by ER doctor, and prodigal genius, Sienna Brooks played by Felicity Jones.
To be completely up front I have suffered the misfortune of having read Dan Brown’s novel on which this is based (I was in hospital and it was presented to me to whittle away the long hours). Brown has always, to me anyway, been a bit like manufactured pop. It’s toe tapping and catchy for a little bit but then you realise it’s crap. I disliked the novel however I really appreciated its ending. I felt the opposite with the film. It is flawed (oh boy it is flawed) but I kind of liked it. And then they threw the good book ending out of the window.
The acting verges on melodrama at times. I like being thrown head first into a film (a la Fury Road) but everything is just so shrill and poorly acted. I think Felicity Jones is a great actress but you’d think she was in a panto the way she goes on half the time in this. With nearly every member of the cast you feel that they could have put literally anyone in any of the roles and it would not have made a blind bit of difference to the end product. You could wonder why Tom Hanks bothers with roles like this but it gives him the money to do things he really wants. Like crashing random people’s weddings to show how kooky he is (I’m sorry I love him really)
The first hour and a bit are a great big mess but there’s something so watchable about the whole thing. You know it’s a shambles but because they keep the pace brisk you don’t linger on the individual flaws (the worst drone scene in history and the clunkiest piece of “you did the right thing” dialogue I have ever seen stand out). The last twenty minutes were actually quite thrilling as I was quite swept up in all the nonsense.
Inferno isn’t a good film. It is watchable though. It’s the kind of thing you’ll come across on TV on a boring Saturday night, decide it wasn’t that bad, and then forget you had ever watched it, remembering it fleetingly as “Another one of those films where Tom Hanks has horrendous hair”.
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