Starring Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Ben Foster
Why are these films so bad, and why do they keep getting made? When Tom Hanks did the first “Da Vinci Code” (2006) film it was a hit because of the fandom with the books, but was poorly received. Hanks hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar since becoming involved with the Dan Brown adaptation franchise. It’s become a major distraction for the actor and certainly the worst on screen work of his career. These stories go for cheap thrills that add up to very little, despite the talent involved. “Inferno”, the fourth book, the third film, offers little we haven’t already seen from the series, but worse, it offers less than most mystery thrillers. This script, the first of the series not written by Akiva Goldsman, is particularly worse than the previous two. Despite how bad the Hans Zimmer score is on this one, the acting and the visual editing, it all boils down to just how stupid the story is.
Robert Langdon (Hanks) wakes up in a hospital with blurred vision and memory loss. Young Dr. Sienna Brooks (Jones) tries to help the internationally known Harvard Professor regain his memory, until they both come under fire by the Italian police. Langdon doesn’t know why he is in Italy, he doesn’t know how he was injured, or why people are trying to kill him. He must retrace his steps and hang on every clue that he finds in his pocket to get the bigger picture. Billionaire philosopher Bertrand Zobrist (Foster) believed that the earth was on its final hour and if extreme measures were not taken to drastically reduce overpopulation, everyone would die. Zobrist’s plan for a widescreen contagion directly relates to Dante, one of Langdon’s favorite subjects, particularly Dante’s Inferno.
Never feels like an adventure, more talk, then run, talk some more, then run some more.
Like Hanks, Jones also has three films out this year. The actress who earned her first Oscar nomination playing the wife of Stephan Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”, is reaping that stardom. While her next two films “A Monster Calls” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” look more promising, this sequel will likely go down as one of her worst acting jobs. In the film’s most groan worthy scene, an overwhelmed Brooks stops to catch her breath, following a near escape, saying how she doesn’t think she can continue. Langdon responds with I understand; do what you must. And miraculously she is fine and says, “You’re right, I did what was needed and I will do it again!” The development of her character is the story’s weakest, not to mention the shoes she is wearing.
Escape after near escape is what “Inferno” offers, not much more. It never feels like an adventure, more talk, then run, talk some more, then run some more. This script relies far too heavily on Langdon’s memory loss, giving Howard a chance to insert these seemingly unneeded, gothic, hell scenes that are both absurd but poorly orchestrated. Langdon has never been much of a charismatic guy, and Hanks phones this one in as a character piece who just moves the story across the board to the inevitable conclusion. The supporting cast doesn’t add anything beyond their diversity. Thankfully this is the shortest of the three films, but it’s also the most ridiculous in a final act that reaches the absurd.
One of, if not the worst, credit on Tom Hank’s filmography.