Inferno – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

infernoInferno – 3/5 – Tom Hanks is one of the best actors of our time.  No matter what kind of film he is a part of, he always manages to make something great.  Even when the film isn’t the best overall (The Terminal), it can still be enjoyable with him in the lead role.  With his latest entry with Inferno; it is a film based around the themes of the social/political climate mixed with investigative elements.  Even if the film doesn’t stand up as a great one, having Hanks brings out the enjoyment factor.  Inferno doesn’t quite hit the high mark, but it does enough to provide an average journey.

Premise: Waking up in an Italian Hospital; Robert Langdon must team up with an unexpected ally to stop the relies of a deadly virus that could wipe out the world’s population

In the lead role of Robert Langdon is Tom Hanks.  As mentioned, he is one of the best actors of our time.  With no exception, he does a great job in providing a strong aura around this fictional character.  No matter if it’s the delusional aspect of the beginning or the ‘edge of your seat’ adrenaline rush in solving the crime near the end; you feel the purpose and drive of Langdon.  Hanks provides wit, humor, intellect and sophisticated depth when it comes to the filming aspect and interactions with other characters.  No matter how good or bad something might be in the story; you are attentive because of Hanks ability to exude charm and provide girth to his role.  With the rest of the cast, you have some notable people.  The few stand outs are:

Felicity Jones as Sienna Brooks

Omar Sy as Christoph Bouchard

Irrfan Khan as Harry Sims

Sidse Kundsen as Elizabeth Sinskey

Ben Foster as Bertrand Zobrist

All of these actors/actresses do a decent job in providing realism to cliché characters.  The totality of their acting abilities helps provide worth and gravitas to their performance.  This helps prop up the one dimensional effect of the characterized designs; helping push past the predictable aspects of the archetypes to something more realistic.  No matter if they are centralized for a specific scene or interacting with Langdon; you notice some connection on a humanistic scale.  For the rest of the cast, they are your basic plot driven points to move the story along.  They don’t do anything to help or hinder the experience of the film.

The direction is your common aspect of a convoluted mess.  Because of who is directing (Ron Howard); it makes you wonder what is his central point of tackling the third story of this filming series.  The only thing that links the other films to this one is the main character and the religious focal point.  The focal point for this one is centered around Dante’s Inferno.  From this starting point, you realize that there is nothing really holding the film together.  Outside of the two aspect, there is no real define of the main purpose or relevancy of a story.  The film starts from an angle of delusions with the main character as the point of entry, and steadily begins weaving the missing pieces into a ‘puzzle’ of finding out the real answers of the importance of Dante’s Inferno.  The film uses a ‘rinse and repeat’ technique within the following scenario:

Find missing piece/clues/plot device element > religious context explanation/exposition > new information of the oncoming threat > move on to next scene/introduction of new missing piece/clues/plot device element.

The ongoing linear method helps piece together a lot of the multiple plot threads, but you’re left with no basic building of the characters involved.  Things just happen to be in the right place at the right time.  The convenience factor shows a lack of developing outside of the basic ‘investigative’ genre outline.  There is a sense of the dramatic and character depth being hinted; but it is left unexplained.  You’re forced to accept the ongoing mess and continue in a one-way direction.  As the story moves into the second act, the director drives more confusion and unexplained plot threads.  Diverting from the aspect of the religious themes and the main character’s purpose, it forces unwelcomed side elements, stationary props and ‘scenic’ moments into the story.  This isn’t to say some of the delusional filming techniques aren’t purposeful, but with unwanted inclusions dilutes the experience and creates a bevy of plot holes that are left unexplained.  As the film moves along, the main ‘open ended’ questions begin to come together.  This helps bring the focus back towards the important aspect of the film (the main character, religious theme and investigative genre).  As this happens, you begin to see the dire situation develop.  Once the ‘cliché’ twists come into play, the third act boils down to the ‘race against time’ scenario.  This scenario helps bring an adrenaline rush for the third act and the climax.  Once the ‘hero’ has a purpose to succeed in this mission, the anticipation of stopping the villains becomes prudent and entertaining.  Once you hit the epilogue, there are so many plot holes, it causes you to guess the importance of certain situations and characters.  In the end, the main points help bring you past that sense of ‘suspend disbelief’ and accept the average tale with Tom Hanks at the center.

The visuals are some of the most gorgeous sceneries seen in any film.  With this being an ‘international’ affair, you get to jump between some of the most iconic areas in the world.  Everything from Florence, Venice and Istanbul; you feel the authenticity in the traveling aspect of the characters.  You are drawn to the realistic settings; helping prop up some of the emotional intent that is lacking in the story.  The score is somewhat non-existent, but the aspect of any kind of musical influence is felt at certain points in the film.

Inferno has a lot of things that bring it down, but there is enough here to create a somewhat enjoyable film.  From the main character to the religious themes; it is something that creates a worthy experience.  If you’re a fan of Hanks or this film series, I’d say give it a chance.  It is worth Matinee price, but nothing more than that.


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