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article imageReview: ‘Inferno’ barely heats up the screen Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 31, 2016 in Entertainment
‘Inferno’ is the third installment in the Robert Langdon film series, taking the scholar back to Italy but leaving his faculties elsewhere.
Some people are very good at solving puzzles, whether it’s unscrambling an anagram, answering a riddle or putting together the clues of a mystery. While it’s something one can teach their brain to do, having a natural talent and proclivity for such problems can be very useful. In Dan Brown’s book series, the protagonist, Robert Langdon, is a renowned puzzle-solver, specifically dealing in religious texts. In each story, he’s recruited to assist in a complex investigation that requires expert deduction to avoid total – and often global – disaster. However, in the third adaptation of his novels, Inferno, Langdon’s role in the inquiry is rather muddled.
Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes up in a hospital with no memory of why he’s there or even in which country the hospital is located. Landmarks outside his window indicate he’s in Italy and the bloody bandage on his head explains the memory loss, but nothing prepares him for the unexpected attempt on his life. Luckily his attending physician and fellow puzzle enthusiast, Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), is there to rescue the confused scholar. Now they must work together to solve a series of clues left by a madman (Ben Foster) who believes he has the answer to overpopulation.
Unlike the previous two films, Robert is not always the smartest person in the room. His amnesia puts him at a significant disadvantage; however since it’s only affecting his memories for the last 48 hours, he’s still able to contribute in matters that require his extensive knowledge of Italian history and Dante. Of course failing to recollect certain transgressions and conversations puts Robert and Sienna in a few awkward situations as they attempt to retrace his steps. It also means that now more than ever Robert finds himself in a position where he can trust no one.
Nonetheless, the investigation brings him into contact again with “the one that got away.” Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen) heads the World Health Organization’s team and it’s her duty to recover the biological weapon before it’s released. Yet questions of her integrity as well as everyone else’s on the case makes safely containing the bomb while simultaneously keeping it out of the wrong people’s hands challenging. Irrfan Khan also has an interesting role as Harry Sims, the head of a private security company tasked with carrying out the plans of the would-be terrorist. He always seems to play the strangest, most sarcastic roles in Western pictures, but it also makes him a comedic highlight in most pictures.
That said, this film could use all the help it could get. It lacks the thrilling intensity of the previous movies as Langdon and company lumber from one possibly significant location to the next without any definitive direction. The heavy reliance on the Internet also sucks some of the momentum out of the movie as they repeatedly pause to research the man behind the maze or some other aspect of the puzzle. Moreover, the regular attempts to pull the rug out from beneath audiences with a new betrayal or surprising ally becomes somewhat tedious over time. At the end of the day, making Langdon an alternate and then sending him at the end to win the game is not especially appealing.
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones and Irrfan Khan
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