INFERNO (2016)

inferno-1The third film in the Dan Brown series of his book adaptations and starring Tom Hanks as Professor Robert Langdon turns out to be the weakest in the series. But still it does enough to prove itself to be a worthy one-time watch. Contrary to a much divided opinion about Ron Howard’s previous adaptations of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, I loved the two films to the core. Be it the intricate story-line, captivating performances and the breathtaking thrills, I watched those films over and over again as a college goer.  Over the years the two films hasn’t lost its charm and even today, I can easily sit through them on any given day. Why I feel Inferno could be the weakest film in this series is because I don’t think I will be able to watch this film again at-least in the near future.

A maniacal millionaire Bertrand Zobrist feels that the only way of saving humanity from imminent annihilation is a global cleansing using a virus that inferno-2he calls Dante’s Inferno. But before he can deliver the payload himself, he is forced to commit suicide. At almost the same time, Robert Langdon wakes up in a hospital in Italy suffering from short term memory loss. Almost immediately he faces an assassination attempt and is helped out of the hospital by his attending doctor, Sienna Brooks. Once out, he discovers a device on his person that apparently points to the location of a virus similar to what Zobrist was building. The WHO is hot on his trail for reasons that are hidden in his yet unlocked memories. A third party, that seems to have been serving Zobrist is hell bent on killing him. Thus begins Langdon’s journey to solve some riddles and race his way across Europe to stop a global annihilation plot.

inferno-4The story effortlessly ties in history and fiction but that’s hardly a surprise. The first two films in the series did exactly that. The performances from the entire cast are consistent. Tom Hanks is a pleasure to watch at any time in any role. But this time around, his character is envisioned in such a way that he remains dazed and confused for most part of the film. That in certain ways took away the fun from the character’s cocky mannerisms that came with the amount of knowledge that he has. It also made him more vulnerable which was not exactly what I liked about his part in this film. I haven’t read the book yet but what I hear from those who have is that it is crammed with puzzles and facts and adventure. Strangely enough, the film felt very shallow in those departments especially towards the end. The interest is maintained till the interval point but thereafter the plot gets extremely predictable.

I constantly had a feeling of déjà vu which I never for once had with the previous films. I know it’s not the best idea to compare films in reviews but when you have two such worthy prequels, comparisons can hardly be avoided. As the film nears its climax two very quick expositions are made which felt very rushed. I could sense a feeling of urgency on part of the director to wrap it all up in a hurry. Irrfan Khan plays a private security provider whose character has a big impact on the happenings but strangely enough, he is not given the kind of importance that he deserved. His character is very superficial and his end too is very abrupt. Felicity Jones does well but her character too feels very superficial towards the end. Sidse Babett Knudsen shares a likable chemistry with Hanks and that’s about it.

inferno-5What struck me about the film what how tedious it got with every passing act. While its predecessors are still rousingly appealing and time flies when you watch them, Inferno feels very exposition heavy and a lot of it is not very engrossing. There are some neatly done action sequences but they cannot hold a candle in front of some of the sequences we have seen in the predecessors. Even the puzzles and the historical references felt very laid back. We have seen a million films about a deadly virus outbreak. The earliest memory that I have of such a film was that of Mission Impossible 2, I guess. The idea has been repeated quite recently in a bit of a different manner in Kingsman: Secret Service. To have that very element essential to its plot probably further reduced the affectivity of the film. Its likable in part. The first half is gripping as you are trying to put the pieces together with Langdon, but as the film enters its second half, the expositions and the twists and turns prove to be underwhelming. Therein lies its biggest weakness. It feels tedious and repetitive.

It could be a good watch for those who haven’t seen the first two films and for those who enjoy films with the kind of content mentioned above. The lack of other good releases this week holds it in good stead. If you are going to the theater this week, Inferno is probably the only worthy watch on your list.

Rating : 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)


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