Review: Inferno Is A Mystery Thriller With No Thrills Or Mysteries
Director: Ron Howard
Summary: 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.
I remember quite clearly the year Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code came out. I was still in high school and all of a sudden everyone was talking about this book like it was some amazing thing. I was, am, an avid reader and read the book not long after it seemed to set the world on fire and was left very confused. This was the book that everyone was losing their minds over? This poorly written mess with a plot that made almost no sense if you stopped and thought about it? My hatred of the book only grew as more and more people tried to tell me how amazing it was so I never watched the movie. I wasn’t reviewing movies at the time and decided that I didn’t want to taint this series anymore before I sat down and watched Inferno. As a fan of Dante I decided to see how the movie stood on its own.
Inferno is a movie built on mystery and twists but everything is so telegraphed and predictable that anyone who has seen a movie or read the book will be able to figure out where the movie is going.
I hadn’t watched any trailers of this movie before going in but I did see a few stills and something stood out to me right away; Tom Hanks looked incredibly bored. There are times when actors very obviously aren’t into the role that they are playing and are only there for the paycheck but Tom Hanks doesn’t need to do that. Hanks is an A lister with more than enough money and doesn’t need to do movies like this. This could only lead me to conclude that Hanks enjoys making these movies which doesn’t explain why he spent the entire movie looking like he’d rather be anywhere else. Felicity Jones doesn’t phase??? much better as she is saddled with a sidekick role that only made me hope that this movie doesn’t taint Rogue One for people later in the year.
There are few things in the world worse than an incredibly stupid person who thinks they are the smartest person in the room. There are plenty of movies that turn into that person and the original Dan Brown novel was another example and here we are yet again. As Hanks and company explain all of the hidden things in various artwork, they are desperately trying to make Robert Langdon sound like an incredibly smart man. Instead he comes off as someone trying to be Sherlock Holmes without having any of the intellect behind him. The story doesn’t help by being dumb in all sorts of ways. The whole story revolves around an impending virus that will kill off most of the world’s population but the movie never does anything to elaborate on that. A truly smart movie would have asked how anyone is supposed to survive if it is that deadly? Is a virus coded in some way that someone will have a natural immunity? Are the followers trying to release this virus given a vaccine? If they are doing this to save our planet from the human race and how are they going to prevent this virus from mutating and infecting animals? These are all questions the movie doesn’t deem worthy of asking.
The thing that truly kills Inferno is that it’s a mystery thriller with no mystery and no thrills. As the movie progressed I spent a good amount of time trying to tell myself that there wasn’t any possible way they were going the way I thought they were with this. They couldn’t be this obvious to spoil their movie ten minutes in but they did. It is all so obvious to the audience that all it does is emphasize how dumb Langdon and company are. The audience being a step ahead of the protagonist is not a bad thing, but we were so far away from the characters we might as well be on different continents. The mystery falling flat means that any thrills are non existent because for something to be thrilling there needs to be a sense of urgency or danger about what is happening and there is absolutely none.
Inferno is a movie that makes me wonder why Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard keep making these movies. They have never been critically well received and I feel like love for the books has tapered off considerably in the last decade. If Hanks and Howard both feel this material is good enough to keep going back to I have to wonder about them, but not as much as I wonder about the audience that keeps going back to these movies and those books.