Inferno: More like damp matchstick

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones jog around Florence in a bid to stop half the world getting killed by Dante- obsessed nutty Billionaire Bertrand Zobrist`s plague-virus.

Wednesday, 19th October 2016, 12:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 2:56 pm
Tom Hanks reprises his role as Dr. Robert Langdon
Tom Hanks reprises his role as Dr. Robert Langdon

Precisely which half is a question never answered. All that’s certain is Ben Foster can’t tell us as he’s just thrown himself off a medieval bell tower. He’s the lucky one – he doesn’t have to watch this preposterous tripe.

People run. Then Stop. Then talk. Then run somewhere else. That in a nutshell is the plot to “Inferno”. Its 121 minutes long but if you exclude the shots of people running around you could probably watch it in ten.

“The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons” were profitable vehicles for Sony Pictures but they weren’t actually very good. It’s a blockbuster franchise nobody feels any affinity to – except perhaps Dan Brown and his mum. This third Ron Howard and Tom Hanks adaptation sees them pedalling shoddy material once more. I’m sick of this join-the-dots art critique sleuthing.

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Robert Langdon and Sienna Brooks

Don’t get me wrong I was one of the first to sit around the pool in my speedos on holiday reading “The Da Vinci Code” code back in the summer of 2003.The emphasis on culture and art history was refreshingly new – thirteen years ago. Having read all of Brown`s work, however, it has long since dawned on me that his wildly outrageous stories and their concealed clues won’t lead you to anything exciting or insightful about Christianity or the Renaissance at all.

Hanks is so charismatic and compelling in everything he’s ever done that I can’t help but feel that he is miscast and wasted in the role of dull academic Dr Robert Langdon. A character who is nothing more than an intelligent Indiana Jones. As his own twitter bio proclaims he’s the “actor in some of the movies you liked and some you didn't.” For me this trilogy is definitely the latter.

That’s not to say he didn’t have some redeeming features. It was novel to be a naïve and unaware viewer (a blank canvas almost) as he pieced the mystery together and solved the problem for us. Here, we don’t even have that. Our reliable puzzle solver has awoken in a Florentine hospital suffering from amnesia after apparently taking a bullet to the head – Jason Bourne knockoff anyone?

Thankfully his doctor Sienna Brooks (Jones) manages to break him out of the ward when an assassin arrives to finish the job. There is nothing at all fishy about this woman with an English accent in the middle of Italy, nor is it ludicrous that she then offers to help him remember what exactly put him in the middle of this mess. And, of course, it’s perfectly logical that he can log in to his email when his memory loss is so acute that he’s forgotten the word for coffee.

Robert Langdon and Sienna Brooks

The best thing to be said about “Inferno” is that it takes place in three of the world’s most beautiful cities — Florence, Venice and Istanbul. The ageless backdrops go some way to compensating for the ludicrous plot. Would a villain with a fanatical agenda for the world really leave a breadcrumb path of riddles to the virus? Dan Brown seems to think so. Quite handy then that he provides his lead man with his usual superpower; unchallenged access to every museum in the world. Seriously? I can’t even get in the gym without scanning my fingerprint.

If you have a logical mind you need to avoid this film. Before entering the cinema I kind of expected most of this to be silly, but on reflection it is clear that even on its own terms it makes no sense. Inferno? More like damp matchstick.