Dr Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) having uncovered the conspiracy of the Holy Grail (The Da Vinci Code); having saved thousands from a bomb under the Vatican (Angels and Demons); now must save the world from a plague, a plague that would send the world into the flames of Dante’s Inferno.
The film begins with Dr Langdon waking in a hospital bed with no memory of the last two weeks: you watch as he is plagued by visions of distorted bodies, flames, limbs sunken into the earth and men being afflicted with bad skin problems. Soon realising that he has become caught up in a conspiracy to release a deadly virus that would cull the world’s population, he sets off on the run with his annoyingly stereotypical female sidekick, Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones). In fact they stay on the run for the majority of the film and for more than an hour this middle-aged professor with a severe concussion manages to out-run trained assassins and the police.
Similar to the previous films, Langdon uses his knowledge of art history to find clues that will unravel the conspiracy. Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), a billionaire who believes ‘mankind is the cancer in its own body,’ puts in place a plan to release a plague, his answer to over-population. In addition, before he dies and before the virus is released, he conveniently or stupidly disperses clues that lead to the source of the plague. Luckily for Langdon these clues are found in the works of such individuals as Dante and Vasari. These hidden puzzles form the most intriguing part of Dan Brown’s books, which set it apart from other thrillers, but in Inferno this aspect is a little weak. Instead the anagrams and hidden codes are a second note to scene after scene of Hanks fleeing museums through conveniently positioned secret passage-ways.
Overall, Inferno runs on, just like its characters do, for the majority of the film. With such talented individuals as Ron Howard and Tom Hanks involved you leave thinking that they can do better than this. Ron Howard’s effort didn’t burn quite as bright as an inferno, more like a mediocre dying flame.
Image: florencedisdero; flickr.com