Since Inferno is loosely based on the best-selling novel ‘Inferno’ by Dan Brown, I’ll review it as a standalone movie and not compare it with the book.
Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes up in a hospital without any recollection of what happened to him in the past 2 days. Barely coming to his senses, he needs to make a run for his life as he his being hunted down by a woman at the hospital. With the help of Doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), they make a successful escape only later to realize that there’s a whole organization in search for him. Adding to this confusion, Langdon finds himself in possession of a capsule, that contains the map of Dante’s Inferno, which is the only clue to stopping a plague which is scheduled to be released the next day by a dead billionaire scientist. No memory, people trying to kill him and he needs to stop the plague. Sounds like an amazing storyline, but only if the execution was so good.
One of the major flaws of the movie was the character development, or the lack of. No back story or explanation of what each of the character’s primary role was led to a certain degree of confusion as to what they did and why. For example, the role of ‘The Provost’ (Irrfan Khan) is being in-charge of some type of private organization that has some clients and his organization takes care of their work (supposedly)… from a ship. Why is he in a ship? What type of clients ask for assistance? How is he being funded? And most importantly what is the connection between him and Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), the scientist who is to release the plague.
Since the story is based on Dante’s map of hell there is little to no explanation as to why Dante was important and why the scientist chose him to represent his plague. Unlike the explanations given in The Da Vinci Code, the explanations to past historical events and the importance of Dante is very limited and is only in a few dialogues exchanged between the characters.
The first half is filled with confusion and short fast paced scenes only add to it. None of the scenes had ample screen time to get fully registered in the minds of the viewer. Second half being the better half still failed to save the movie in any way. Bad choice of storyline and lack of proper direction didn’t help to what could have been a very good climax. A few suspense here and there and the last 15-20mins of the movie being the only good part doesn’t make the disappointment of the rest of the movie go away.
Talking about acting none of the characters stand out except for Irrfan Khan who is the only one who seems to be interested in the movie. Tom Hanks in his most average acting is not so greatly complemented by Felicity Jones who doesn’t give a standout performance either. Sidse Babett Knudsen who plays Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey and Omar Sy who plays Christoph Bruder give nothing but forgettable roles. Bertrand Zobrist played by Ben Foster does show some potential but is overshadowed by everything else.
But does the ultimate threat of drastically reducing the population help in any way? Well, no and that’s where the movie falters big time. The threat of the plague being released isn’t threatening and doesn’t make the viewer tensed enough to get to the edge of the seat until the very last climax scene but till then everyone knows what the outcome is going to be.
Running time of approximately 2hrs, it seems well short as everything is being crammed in. It could have been easily extended by good 30mins which would have helped the movie in a big way and might have possibly made it a pretty great watch.
The movie does have its share of moments and few interesting scenes and beautiful locations but it’s far from a good action movie. It’s hard to recommend but if you do decide to watch then do so without reading the book.