Academy Award winner Ron Howard (‘A Beautiful Mind’, ‘Frost/Nixon’, ‘In The Heart of The Sea’) returns with another movie in the Robert Langdon series. With the last one being Angels & Demons in 2009, we had to wait a little while for this ecranisation of Dan Brown’s bestselling book Inferno. But the wait is over! With not staying so true to the book – leaving out some characters and changing the plot, we get a good adaptation that is little darker and more visually appealing than the other movies in the series.
The story begins in Florence, Italy. Famous symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) awakens in a hospital with no memory of what has happened over the last few days. With the help of Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor, he hopes to recover the missing pieces of his memory. Together they go on a trail of clues across Europe tied to great Dante himself that were left by a madman named Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) who wishes to wipe out half of the world’s population with unleashing a global virus.
Every time going to movies that are adaptations, I focus on how well they bring the pages from books to the screen. Lately we’ve got so many adaptations that haven’t been the best – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The 5th Wave, Ben-Hur and more. Like in all Robert Langdon movie series, in Inferno we get many changes that are different from the source material. With that said, it hurt the movie’s plot and characters quite a bit. With leaving many things out, the movie felt empty and shallow. Even changing some characters, the plot, some characteristics of the characters – didn’t help the movie at all. I know that sometimes originality is good but for an adaptation it isn’t. Just to clarify – I’m not against territoriality and you should put something original but it should not change the movie to the point it destroys the flow of the story. I won’t spoil anything – just remember, if you have read the book, expect many changes that might get you frustrated.
With staying away from the third book in Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown – The Lost Symbol, Ron Howard made the right choice not to rush with the third movie. With adapting the third book, we could’ve got a movie that would’ve been similar to National Treasures (starring Nicolas Cage) and nobody wants to get a similar movie to that ‘thing’. So he decided to work on fourth book – Inferno. A plot that features a global virus that could wipe out half of the world population, Inferno is a timely movie that was the right adaptation to make, because almost all the ideas the character Zobrist expresses are kind of true – people are overpopulating the earth and we are really close to a mass extinction.
From the start of The Da Vinci Code, I started to like the character of Robert Langdon and every time I have enjoyed the performance of Tom Hanks – for me, he stays true to the books. Robert Langdon in Inferno is still the professor of religious iconology and symbology at Harvard University, who remembers everything and can solve anything. Although we got so much puzzle solving in the last two movies, we don’t get that much in Inferno. With less puzzle solving, we at least receive a history lesson about Dante, Botticelli, Vasari and a lot more. That is a good thing by the way. Who doesn’t like a history lesson, right?
Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks and you can’t say nothing wrong in his performance – at least I can’t. Great performances also came from Ben Foster (‘3:10 To Yuma’, ‘Warcraft’), who we don’t get to know that much in the movie, and Irrfan Khan (‘Jurassic World’, ‘Life of Pi’) – both are great additions. But there comes Felicity Jones. For me she is one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood but I just couldn’t enjoy her portrayal of Sienna Brooks – maybe because the characteristics were off. In the book Sienna was quick-witted, allowed herself some self-pity, could be playful, joking at several times, but she could also be completely focused on work and the task ahead of her. Her childhood passion for theatre, and later on her job as a part-time actress, gave her the ability to feign emotion incredibly well. We don’t get anything of that in the movie. We get a character that we almost know nothing about and sometimes being non emotional – at the end we just don’t care that much about her. If the characteristics would’ve been like in the book, we would’ve felt more chemistry between the two leads.
As for directing: Ron Howard did a good job in creating visually gorgeous movie. Creating some spectacular scenes that are associated with Robert Langdon’s visions – made the movie look quite dark and serious. We get a lot of landscape shots of beautiful city’s like Florence and Istanbul – you almost feel like you are there. Ron Howard knows how to make an attractive movie. With being more action oriented then the other movies in the series, we still get a fun movie to watch. If you have not read the book, you will enjoy it more. I read the book before watching the movie, so I compared them to each other a lot. And that didn’t help me at all – I just saw lot of plot holes. In conclusion – Inferno is not the worst in the series. If you liked all the movies in Robert Langdon series and you have nothing against an adaptation not being a complete copy of the book, you will enjoy watching Inferno.
Running time: 121 minutes; Production companies: Imagine Entertainment; Distributed by: Columbia Pictures; Genre: Mystery, Thriller; Budget: $75 million (estimated);
Directed by: Ron Howard; Produced by: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard; Screenplay by: David Koepp; Based on: Inferno by Dan Brown; Cinematography: Salvatore Totino; Music: Hans Zimmer; Edited by: Dan Hanley, Tom Elkins;
Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Irrfan Khan, Omar Sy, Ben Foster, and many more.