Robert Langdon is back to solve another set of riddles – only this time the stakes are much higher
With two films already adapted each following a similar narrative, is a third film really worth seeing?In short yes. We first met Professor Langdon as he unearthed some potentially shattering, secret information within the Roman Catholic Church in The Da Vinci Code. Clearly not having had his fill of religious excitement and trivia he returned to our screens to foil the plans of an alleged Illuminati group in the Vatican City in Angels and Demons. And now Langdon finds himself once more gracing our screens only this time in Inferno. Waking up in a hospital bed in Florence symbologist Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) has no recollection of how he got there or how he managed to sustain a fairly serious head injury. With barely any memory of the past 48 hours Langdon finds himself somehow caught up in yet another ridiculously insane adventure for a university lecturer.Once again Langdon finds himself solving riddles but now reliving his Dante lesson plan becomes an essential element in a race against a ticking clock of only 24 hours. And this time the stakes are much higher – Langdon must locate a deadly virus that has the potential to wipe out half of the entire human race. As you would expect, Hanks is good as the erudite and insanely intelligent Professor Langdon. He’s very much the same in this film as he was in the first two, right at home solving riddles and running across cities from church to gallery and back again, but this time he is contending with short term memory loss which does make for some amusing scenes and adds a bit more tension and uncertainty to the whole film. Hanks is the everyday, loveable Joe in these movies.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Langdon film without a beautiful young lady by his side helping him to crack the code and this time it’s Felicity Jones who’s taken on the role as ER doctor, Sienna Brooks who, after attending to Langdon’s injury, finds herself tagging along for the ride. Jones brings an air of freshness to the film, playing a young English doctor that has gotten herself mixed up in this latest escapade but uses her own intellect to aid Langdon's attempts to save the world from near extinction. Langdon must try to untangle his memories in order to figure out who to trust before it’s too late
Adding pressure to the situation is the World Health Organisation who have dispatched two agents, Christoph Bruder (Omar Sy) and Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen), both from different departments who are determined to find the virus before the other; suffice to say not everything is what it seems despite the government tag. And lurking in the background is Irrfan Khan who plays Harry Sims 'The Provost’ – the well spoken head of a secret company who’s main priority is keeping their clients' secrets secret. Khan is great as this character bringing effortless charm and a dash of comedy - which he pull off remarkably well – but his character does feel a bit out of place at times.
Hanks reprises his role as Robert Langdon and comfortably slips right back into those familiar shoes
It’s not very often that the third film in a trilogy lives up to it’s predecessors but Inferno has just about managed to do that. With Ron Howard once again directing, Inferno retains most of the elements that made the previous two films work. Inferno, I would say, is packed with a bit more action and definitely has a faster pace but it doesn’t quite have the same code-cracking fun the first film had. Yes, there are clues to be solved but they rather get lost in the amount of galleries, churches and museums that are visited and become a bit of a blur and fall by the wayside. That said, it didn’t feel drawn out nor did it simply rehash the same old narrative. There are enough differences to keep this instalment entertaining and events are on a much larger scale.
Where Howard particularly succeeds is in the dream sequences and hallucinations that Langdon keeps having as a result of his head injury. They are dark, twisted and tormented and are brought to life in order to tie the film together nicely. Using shaky camera work aids in delivering Langdon’s debilitated mental state and quick editing hastens the plot’s sense of urgency which is only enhanced by an effective musical score from Hans Zimmer.
Despite placing more focus on the cross city dashing of our duo and the hi tech antics of the W.H.O, rather than the actual riddle solving, Inferno isn’t a complete bust. It is entertaining and remains true (more or less) to the tried and tested formula of the previous two films. Ultimately the film is an enjoyable watch with some beautiful Italian scenery thrown in and a twist here and there but nothing that will leave any significant lasting impressions.
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