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Inferno Review: tripe for dumb people to feel smart

Inferno, the third film based on Dan Brown’s horrible books following Robert Langdon, is yet another slice of absolute tripe made for dumb people to feel smart. It is a laughably poor ‘story’ that begs the question: who has compromising videos of Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones and director Ron Howard?

It is about this time that I am tasked to explain the plot of the film. But here’s the problem, Inferno’s plot is constantly explained with every line of dialogue, so you don’t have to worry about what’s going on. But if you really do care: Robert Langdon (Hanks) wakes up in an Italian Hospital with Amnesia and somehow he teams up with a doctor (Jones) to stop a deadly virus being released by a wealthy businessman (Ben Foster).

Story: E

Okay, so you would think that the film would focus on stopping Foster’s character from actually crafting the virus bomb. You would be wrong. Instead the business makes the bomb and decides to top himself and leave various clues around Europe for someone to stop a plan he wants to complete. Why? Because Dan Brown, that’s why.

For those who don’t know Dan Brown, the ‘genius’ behind this story, he infamously wrote this barnstormer of a line: “The famous man looked at the red cup.” He is a man that doesn’t understand nuance or subtlety and is still unfamiliar with the idea of an internal monologue. He is a horrible writer and the films have stuck closely to his way of storytelling.

Inferno, much like The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, feels like someone popped open their laptop, read an entire Wikipedia article on Dante’s Inferno and based a book on the first two lines their cursor happened to be over. The entire film consists of two people staring at statues and paintings and tapestries and finding clues that an idiot made up. Incidentally, not one clue or solution has a real world thread to it or any tangible worth.

And, being a Dan Brown film, there is something called a twist. And when the twist arrives there will be no reaction. When the twist arrives only the characters on the screen will showcase any shock. Only the film will view the development as a twist. You will sit there and wonder why you were fooled into watching Tom Hanks narrate an art exhibition for a third time.

Acting: D+

Look through the cast and you will see world-class talent in the form of Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Irrfan Khan, Omay Sy and Ben Foster. But when the best actors and actresses in the world are walking around spouting nonsense and doing it with utter boredom lacing their words, you get Inferno.

Hanks’ signature brand of experience and likeability is wasted as Langdon takes himself too seriously. Felicity Jones is reduced to yet another female sidekick role in another Dan Brown story. Irrfan Khan is as good as he can be with the screentime he gets. Ben Foster is slowly becoming the master of being good in crap movies; first Warcraft, now Inferno.

The film and the story does not utilise the terrific talent it has drafted into its’ story. It wastes them with ear-screeching dialogue and throws them to the wolves with horrible developments. It is true that Inferno will be a footnote in these people’s careers but it will also be a blemish.

Direction: D-

Ron Howard returns to the director’s chair for the third time. He has once again left his lighting kit at home. He has once again hired the same agent that tricked him into this project. And he has once again convinced himself that Dan Brown is a good author. Howard has made fantastic and engaging films in the past. He is an adept storyteller but when there’s no story of substance, what can the man do? At least the first two films were ludicrous and laughable in an enjoyable way. This third film is just gaudy and bad.

Inferno invites itself to be mocked with fire-fuelled puns and devilish summaries. But indulging Inferno with smart writing like that would be giving it far too much credit. This is a film that doesn’t deserve an initial thought let alone a second one. It is a horrible and vacuous film that defies stupidity and holds the viewer’s hand with a pulpy and pus oozing hand.

Final Score: D


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