Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Irrfan Khan
Genre: Action/ Thriller
Famous symbologist Robert Langdon (Hanks) wakes up in a Florence hospital with a head trauma and very little memory of the last 48 hours, but with people seemingly wanting to kill him. He teams up with doctor Sienna Brooks (Jones) to help him recover his memories and figure out why so many people seemingly want him dead, leading to a race against time across Europe to stop a mad billionaire (Ben Foster) from unleashing a virus that will threaten to wipe out humanity.
In my recent review of the painfully average The Girl on the Train I emphasised the obvious point that in any art form there is no clear positive correlation between financial success and quality. Well, though I must admit that I have not actually read any of Dan Brown’s novels, the cinematic adaptations of his books (2006’s The Da Vinci Code and 2009’s Angels & Demons) were so monumentally and laughably stupid, that it is almost impossible surely for the books to be any better.
Well, it certainly does come as somewhat of a surprise that Hanks and Howard have decided to make another instalment of the Robert Langdon series seven years later, three years after the release of the actual book, especially with Howard finding both commercial success and critical acclaim with films like the excellent Rush. What may somewhat depressingly come as less of a surprise is that the film is just as monumentally stupid and farcical as its two predecessors, in fact Inferno is the worst instalment yet.
Okay, so that isn’t quite true, I must admit that Tom Hanks’ hairstyle has slightly improved as the films have gone on.
However, apart from that, every other aspect of these films has gradually deteriorated in standards with The da Vinci Code being dull and stupid, Angels & Demons being laughably stupid and now Inferno being insultingly stupid.
It is almost impossible to put into words an accurate description and analysis that does justice to just how rubbish Inferno is as a piece of narrative storytelling. Flaws, plot holes and irritatingly convenient contrivances can always be found in any film any of this type, and can be forgiven if the they occur sparingly and the film has a genuinely interesting plot and likeable characters worth routing for. Well, Inferno certainly has none of these good qualities, and though there is certainly the potential for the initial idea to be an interesting story, from the off all we get is a total nonsensical narrative mess told at 100 miles an hour.
The saving grace for Angels & Demons was that it was laughably stupid and that it emerged as an unintentional comedy, but Inferno does not even have that, err, ‘quality’. The worst aspect of it all is that it is very stupid, but treats the audience as though they are even more stupid. Basically, what you get with seeing Inferno at the cinema is paying over £10 to then be insulted for a couple of hours – a great investment of time and money!
As per usual everything is over explained and characters constantly feel the need to explain to one another what is happening on screen (as we the audience are stupid and cannot figure out these things for ourselves), so we get lots of running, pointing and patronising exposition all at the same time. Meanwhile the plot itself is told like it is made up as it goes along; with characters randomly turning up at the plots convenience and the supposed revelations and twists being so blatantly obvious. The straight faced and stoic delivery of its farcical plot meant there was certainly potential for Inferno to be an unintentional comedy, but the fact it insults the intelligence of the viewer so much means that it is just an infuriating viewing experience that delivers no thrills or entertainment whatsoever.
Inferno is purely made as a product and it does feel that everyone involved is just turning up to go through the motions and pick up their massive paycheque. Tom Hanks looks like he cannot be bothered at all, while Felicity Jones is admittedly very good, but her efforts are wasted and there are a few familiar faces that turn up, all looking almost embarrassed as they deliver the hideously clunky dialogue. The one (and I do sincerely mean ONLY one) saving grace of the films of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons was that they produced two exceptional scores from musical maestro Hans Zimmer that are up there as two of the best film scores of recent years. However, even Hans Zimmer seems to be going through the motions by just re-hashing his compositions of the two previous films, yet his score, as with the other two films, is by far the best thing about thing about the film and at times makes it feel like a better film than it is.
However, as soon as Zimmer’s sweeping strings are interrupted by some patronising, insulting and hideously clunky dialogue we are then reminded that we are indeed watching one of the worst films of 2016.
If it is possible to go lower than the lowest common denominator, then Inferno does certainly dig deep and find that low and dark place. It is a film that is not only beyond stupid, it is shoddily put together by people that only care for profit and will insult the intelligence of all sentient beings.
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