Tom Hanks’ third attempt to prove once and for all that he can’t be trusted in museums. Should viewers expect an exciting installment from Dan Brown’s novels or are we subjected a snore fest? Well, read on.

Inferno follows good ol’ professor Langdon once again, and this time he has to save the planet (because obviously) from a virus designed to wipe out 50% of the human population. As with any serialized mystery series, the third installment seems to be showing its age. The Da Vinci Code at least pissed people off: Read Here. Da Vinci Code’s reputation with critics is not great, nor is Angels and Demons. However, both of those films are better than Inferno. At least the scope of the films made sense on a pulpy mystery level (though Angels and Demons pushed the limits of that). If not for Tom Hanks’ almost godlike charm these movies would be insufferable.

But even Hanks cannot save Inferno from itself. Where this film exactly went wrong is hard to fully unpack. There is no shining thread that we as the viewer can grab refuge from the rest of the movie. Langdon returns, but is now suffering from amnesia, hallucinating, and unable to grasp his situation. There are two unfortunate aspects of this: 1. We as the viewer have quit caring long before Langdon figures out what is going on and 2. The most interesting aspect of the film are the hallucinations, which are underused. The imagery of hell is shot well, interesting, and stands apart from this otherwise bland film.

Everything about this movie plods along. Langdon doesn’t seem concerned at any point, almost as though he is somehow aware he is in a cheap genre-flick (perhaps that should be the mystery twist for the fourth installment). The viewer never feels tension because we all know how the movie is going to end as soon as it begins. The details might change, but the ending is predictable. Even the obnoxious amount of twists cannot derail the predictability and ploddingness of the film. The good guy is bad and the bad guy is good but the good/bad guy is actually good and all of this should have been left on the cutting room floor (or something like that).

“Let’s go to this museum and then run from the bad guys on our way to the next museum to save the day just in time.” I believe that previous statement is the only creative direction the actors received from Ron Howard, who seems to be missing the mark lately. The camera is so damn jumpy during the forced action sequences that you will feel nausea before tension.

To be fair, the film is at least watchable. Boiler plate crap, but entertaining for an evening out. Albeit, I did find a popcorn kernel stuck in my tooth to be more interesting than the film… Inferno is a cookie-cutter movie. Add together a likable protagonist, attractive helper, several bland villains, international locations, intrigue, manufactured danger, religious/art undertones, last minute save-the-day crap, and boom—you got yourself a Dan Brown movie. You probably won’t hate it, but you certainly won’t remember much about it the next day. 4/10

 

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