Cinema Cindy Reviews ‘Inferno’

By CYNTHIA BIDDLECOMB
Los Alamos

“Inferno” is the latest movie based on a novel by Dan Brown. As with the films made from Brown’s other popular novels, “The DaVinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”, this film is fast paced. In it, we travel from Florence, Italy, to Venice and on to Istanbul, Turkey. One would be hard put to feel bored watching this movie.

Movie poster for ‘Inferno’.

Tom Hanks once again plays Dan Brown’s protagonist, Robert Langdon, now professor of religious iconology and symbology at Cambridge University. The film opens with Langdon waking in a hospital without a memory of how he got there, nor of where he is. Slowly, he puts the pieces together through memories and frightening visions (or psychotic episodes.) It is not quite amnesia that he has, though, since he can still tap into his ability to interpret ancient symbols.

Partnering with him in his efforts to reconnect the dots is Sienna Brooks, played by Felicity Jones (soon to star in Star Wars: Rogue One). Brooks was apparently a child prodigy who heard Langdon speak when she was nine years old. Now she is his doctor when he awakens in the Italian hospital in Florence. When the hospital is attacked, Brooks is quite willing to flee with Langdon.

Turns out Langdon is in Florence because his services were needed to unravel a set of clues using symbols related to Dante, thus the title Inferno (the first book in Dante’s Divine Comedy). As the clues lead them on, Langdon and Brooks must race against time to stop the release of a deadly pathogen, a global plague intended to wipe out at least a quarter of the world’s population. Authorities from the World Health Organization seem to be tracking them, trying to stop them at every turn.

The plot of this film is a bit light on connecting the dots. One is not nearly as caught up in the symbols and hidden meanings here as we were with The DaVinci Code. So, don’t expect to find the mystery as compelling. The action, however, will keep you interested, if not riveted. As with other Dan Brown stories, this movie doesn’t rest very long in one location as Langdon and Brooks keep trying to outrun the authorities.

What is compelling are the locations used—museums and historic sites to which the clues have led. Not having been to Florence or Venice, these were fun for me to visit in the film. But entering the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul again, through the film, was awe-inspiring. The setting for the denouement is striking enough to be quite memorable. Those who’ve read the book, though, should know the ending has been changed.

Inferno is “Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality.” Langdon’s visions of hell and the plague could be considered quite disturbing. But the movie is entertaining, at the very least.

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