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Inferno Review: Tom Hanks Goes on One Endless Chase

By Julian Roman — October 26th, 2016

The third time is certainly not the charm for Director Ron Howard and Tom Hanks. Inferno, their latest adaptation of author Dan Brown, is an entirely illogical thriller that at no point had my interest. The historical babble and endless chase scenes blur into a two hour postcard for Italian travel. The film aims for a breathtaking pace, but doesn't give enough time to elaborate on the supposed mystery. Characters bounce around with superhuman intuition, then become foolish to sneak in a few twists. It's an absurd plot and the worst of the trilogy by far, even if it is burning up the box office overseas.

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes up with a bullet wound in a Florence hospital. He has no memory of how he got there. Confused and disoriented, he's soon on the run with the attending physician (Felicity Jones). Different factions are trying to kill him. His only clues, a doomsayer billionaire (Ben Foster) and an artifact steeped in the mythology of Dante's Inferno.

Arriving from Sony Pictures, the overall premise of Inferno had promise; an amnesiac historian knee deep in a plot for global apocalypse. It goes south when everything starts falling into place like dominos. Langdon is wounded and woozy, but sentient enough to know every single freaking detail of each setting he encounters. Then you have a host of different bad guys with their own agendas. They're near omnipotent in reach, except when it comes to keeping up with Langdon. It becomes even more unbelievable because the story takes place over forty-eight hours. The two previous films were fanciful and gimmicky, but Inferno goes way off the common sense radar.

The score by Hans Zimmer does not flow with the film. Howard has multiple scenes where Langdon hallucinates bizarre imagery of hell. The musical accompaniment just doesn't fit. These scenes are cut into elaborate chases, where the tempo of the score drastically increases. I may be nitpicking here, but it was noticeably bad. The fact may be that the edginess of the musical approach may have been exactly what the filmmakers were going for.

There's not much to say about the players in Inferno. Hanks and company are collecting paychecks. It's the script and execution that is lacking. Inferno may have been a page-turner as a book, but that did not translate to the big screen. Ron Howard and Tom Hanks have been great in the past and will undoubtedly be again. I just hope they delve into new ground and leave Robert Langdon on the shelf.

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