Inferno not that hot

Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard take another kick at the can in this third and hopefully final segment pitting Cambridge “symbologist” Robert Langdon against a highly intelligent and needlessly cryptic villain. 

The first film, The Da Vinci Code, opened in 2006 with $77 million on the way to a $218 million total in the U.S. In 2009, Angels & Demons debuted with $46 million for a $133 million domestic total. 

If preliminary box office indications hold true, Inferno will be lucky to earn over its lifetime as much as Angels grossed in its first few days. 

The story opens with Langdon awaking in a hospital. He has suffered a head wound and remembers nothing from the last 48 hours. 

A young and attractive doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything) helps him escape when a police officer shoots at him and the film is off to the races.

Dr. Brooks happens to be a genius with a convenient love of puzzles. Together they begin deciphering clues gained from a high-tech canister found in Langdon’s coat pocket that only his thumb print can open. 

Clues point to a conspiracy themed around Dante’s Levels of Hell that suggest a culling of the world’s population by a virus that will wipe out 50 per cent of the population. 

The action flits back and forth between frantic nightmarish images, courtesy of Langdon’s brain injury (think Dawn of the Dead meets The Black Plague), and painfully slow and pedantic scenes of academic symbol discovery.

Cut away to a clip of a Ted Talk given by an Elon Musk-like character, billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster – Warcraft). Zobrist presents a convincing argument of global over population. 

"We must kill the cancer of humanity to save humanity."

Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen – Westworld TV) is a big wig at the WHO (World Health Organization) and is Langdon’s “one who got away."

It has been several years since they have seen each other and he can’t be sure which side of the law she’s on. 

There is a nice chemistry between Knudsen and Hanks, but they have very few scenes together. A little more screen time between them even in a flash back would have given the film a little more soul.

The other WHO character is Christoph Bouchard (Omar Sy – Jurassic World) who may or may not be trying to find the “doomsday virus” so he can auction it off to the highest bidder.

Harry Sims (Irrfan Kahn - Life of Pi) plays the head of the high-tech security firm. Kahn steals every scene he’s in and makes an absolutely fabulous sociopath. 

It is a shame that he isn’t given more screen time as the film would have benefited from his presence.

Hanks is a gifted actor, but even he can’t breathe life into the dry and one dimensional character of Robert Langdon.

Late in Inferno, Hanks blurts out, “My God, this is a labyrinth.” 

Well, of course it is, because he is running (and running and running) through another meandering and nonsensical Dan Brown maze.

It is a beautiful maze though with some truly breathtaking cinematography of Florence, Venice and Istanbul. 

Don’t try to make sense of it and you’ll enjoy this fast and furious romp through classic literature, museums and cobble stoned streets. 

I give this film 2 and a half hearts out of 5.

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About the Author

Kim Foreman-Rhindress is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and London Western Conservatory of music for piano and voice. 

Kim has been performing in theatre and film for over 30 years in Canada, NYC, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands. She has written several plays which have been produced in Canada and the U.S., and is the founder of Kelowna Voice Lab - helping people find their voice, be it singing or acting. 

A working musician, she performs regularly in Kelowna with her husband, Jim Rhindress, in an acoustic duo Smitten, and with her vintage trio Kitsch 'n Sync.  

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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