Kyle Fosse- Staff Writer
Dan Brown is back in theatres. Get ready for another conspiracy thriller, full of mumbling exposition, conveniently brilliant protagonists, intense manhunts, Italian buildings and all the unprecedented plot twists.
Plagued by amnesia and violent, disturbing visions of the End, Tom Hanks reprises his role as Robert Langdon for the third time, where he is thrust into a new adventure in which he is almost as clueless as we are. Joined by Dr. Sienna Brooks, played by Felicity Jones (Theory of Everything), the two must evade police, private organizations and seemingly every other government agency in order to stop the Inferno.
What is the Inferno? Dante’s gruesome paintings immediately spring to mind. To say any more would be to give too much away. Who doesn’t love a good mystery every now and then?
What made the film for me were the performances. Tom Hanks is always a joy to watch, no matter what crisis he’s stuck in. He and Felicity Jones played off one another nicely, and it was a joy to watch their screen chemistry with one another.
Irrfan Khan, whom you might know as the older Pi in Life of Pi, makes a brilliant addition to the cast as the head of a private security company. Level-headed and sarcastic, he seems aloof from the world of conspiracies and thrillers. His dry humour acts almost as a criticism of the genre, and throws in some much-needed lightness to the bleakness of the ticking clock.
When you go into these films, one of the things you expect – and perhaps need – is plot twists. Big ones. There were a few genuinely surprising and clever twists, but I felt that they appeared almost exclusively in the first half of the film. What was left was a very long, albeit exciting, conclusion to the plot without a great deal of payoff.
Unfortunately, our modern predilection for happy endings makes the catastrophic threat of the movie seem highly unbelievable to an audience. Of course, the hero must succeed on some level, but when the stakes are so high that half the world’s population will perish if he fails, the heightened level of danger makes defeat much less likely.
This was director Ron Howard’s third foray into the world of lost codes, artefacts and catacombs within Dan Brown’s books. Howard seems to understand the material and his audience well. The story plays scene-by-scene at a breakneck pace – never allowing the audience to get bored, and spreading out the slower, more talk-oriented scenes throughout the action and thrill.
So no, it wasn’t mind-blowing. You could watch a handful of any similar conspiracy films and find many of the same tropes, characters and plot conventions. But Inferno was enjoyable in itself; the movie
was strung along at a feverish and engaging pace; and it surprised me more than once with its twists and developments.
If you have a hankering for some mystery and something a little different from most of the movies we’ve seen this year, you’re bound to enjoy Inferno. If nothing else, it’s a wild ride.