A little fact about myself, before I founded my love for films and the silver screen I was planning on achieving a career as a historian. I am fascinated by the discovery of how cultures lived and the wonder of researching a possible new fact about old civilisations. So it was only natural that I would be fascinated by the works of Dan Brown and the historical research that goes into his novels. So when I firsts saw The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons I enjoyed them because of the historical aspects and learning that I could take away becoming more knowledgeable in the process, like watching a history film at school that was actually entertaining. Analysing them as films, they left me with a semi decent reception, almost certainly improved by Tom Hanks acting ability.
The film opens as these types of film often do with a mystery before cutting to the main character. It’s how Inferno makes this transition that to someone watching this film immediately grabs their attention by forcing them into the action combined with the mystery of what, where and why?
If you follow the works of Tom Hanks, then you don’t need reminding of how incredible an actor he is, and in his third portrayal as the genius Robert Langdon, he continues this ability. What was also impressive is how Ron Howard reveals and expands the character of Robert Langdon by taking away all of his valuable assets which makes him good at deduction. There is a clever scene in which Robert attempts to solve an anagram and reply with “I used to be good at this”. This was such a great scene and I appreciate directors that can turn the tropes of a films series upside down, this gives us a fresh insight into a character.
Felicity Jones stars alongside Tom Hanks as Sienna Brooks, she performed as well as much as Tom Hanks did, they make a great partnership in this film and you can tell from the delivery of their dialogue that they have great chemistry together.
Inferno then presents us with another mystery, if a film has a gripping opening, great chemistry between the two actors and a well acclaimed director at the helm, what went wrong?
The narrative, which is practically a rinse and repeat procedure after the opening, was incredibly complicated to follow partially due to the over complexity of the characters after Robert and Sienna. I was often asking myself who these people were because there were so many individual people after Robert, it was challenging to figure out who these people were working for.
Films can demand your attention by a myriad of other ways than just character and story which this film just didn’t provide. There were no camera angles that made me go wow or at least be interesting enough to spark curiosity which is what a mystery film like Inferno is built upon. While the editing did create an intense atmosphere for the many chases in the film, I did notice a few sloppy mistakes such as one instance when the subtitled dialogue would overlap the next scene. Not even a score by the legendary Hans Zimmer could have pardoned the mistakes made by the editing.
Mystery films are in need of explaining which is why we have explanatory dialogue to help us move along with the story, Inferno decided to make the simple mistake of having too much unnecessary dialogue between characters. When there is no adventure of mystery for the characters to partake in, it should be the perfect time to explore their personality instead, especially for the characters in which we have just been introduced to. Ron Howard certainly attempts this and I acknowledge his efforts as an overall fantastic director to do so, but having unnecessary dialogue should be a sixth sense for the director and screenwriter. Mind you the script did come from the writer of the 4th Indiana Jones film so what can you say?
Inferno itself is a mystery in the end, the more I thought about this film, the more critical I became of it. It still bugs me how a film that got off to a great first impression could lose its mood. If Ron Howard could have found some way to keep that same level of intrigue, we might have seen a completely different film, but in this case the negatives very much outweighed the positives.
Final Result: 4/10 – Below Average
Have you seen Inferno? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below?
Next Time: I, Daniel Blake