Release Date: October 28, 2016
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Dan Brown, David Koepp
Cast: Felicity Jones, Tom Hanks, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster, Ana Ularu, Irrfan Khan, Omar Sy, Kata Sarbo, Ida Darvish, Attila Arpa, Wolfgang Stegemann, Francesca Inaudi, Fortunato Cerlino, Jon Donahue, Christian Stelluti, Bjorn Freiberg, Xavier Laurent, Mirjam Novak, Slim Khezri, Cesare Cremonini, Mehmet Ergen, Luca Fiorilli, Peter Linka, James Fred Harkins Jr., Martin Angerbauer, Fausto Maria Sciarappa
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 121 minutes
Production Company: Columbia Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, LStar Capital, Mid Atlantic Films, Sony Pictures Releasing
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Country: Hungary, USA
Budget: $75,000,000 (estimated)
The Oscar winning director, Ron Howard, has an endless list of spectacular achievements on his resume. I haven’t personally seen them all, but one of my favorites is Rush; which hit theaters back in 2013. It was something about the two main leads and their never-ending competition that defined them and made for an awesome and inspiring story. So how does a director deliver such great content, then struggle to deliver the same level of greatness right after? There could be several reasons, but it’s apparent something tragic may have happened in the making of Inferno. I’ve always said it’s better for a film to start out poor only to end on a high note, rather than it start out great only to end in a mess. The former is what happened this time, but it’s still not acceptable. Tom Hanks of course is phenomenal in all his work, but it seems he woke up on the wrong side of the bed everyday of filming; along with everyone else on set, in the editing, and in the writing room.
What was broadcasted all over the marketing was how much of a race against time the plot will be and that the smartest symbologist in the world, Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), needs to decode a secret to save humanity. After viewing the film, that’s not what necessarily happened. Langdon wasn’t the only one that could solve this puzzle. Within the film it seemed as if every character could. Going in you know there will be twists and turns and illusions all around you. So to engage the audience what’s brought to the forefront has to be believable, and from the first instance nothing is. While exposition is laid out for the main lead, all the so called misleading agents are as easy to spot out as a where’s Waldo picture with only two people. Frame by frame you’ll mostly likely say to yourself, “That’s not real,” “That’s a setup,” “She’s lying to you,” or “Watch out!” So, when these secrets reveal themselves later, you’re not in shock or awe. You’re scratching your head in confusion over whether that was supposed to be a surprise or not. It was, but it failed miserably; which makes you want to go home.
It’s not only the set either. When The Da Vinci Code hit back in 2006, the character of Robert Langdon is someone who was respected. You knew who the man was, and you wanted to take as many pages out of his books as possible. That’s not the same feeling I had this time. As we’re catching up to Langdon we see him hurt, beat down, hallucinating, and tripping all over the place. It’s all very confusing and has no context, and you’re wondering what the hell you’re watching. As Langdon hallucinates, and falls all over the place, so does the camera man. For the first twenty minutes or so it’s as if the whole crew were in a daze trying to create the next form of storytelling. What a mess it was. Things finally cleared up, but the characters involved were paper thin cannon fodder without the impact. Even the assassin involved was one of the worst imaginable. She might as well have had a blimp over her head with flashing lights saying, “I’m here to kill you.”
What makes matters worse is if you realized that most of what came before was a complete sham. A waste of time only to get you in the theater. David Koepp (Jurassic Park) wrote this screenplay, but he forgot to leave in the common sense. Those two words just don’t exist in this film. Too many characters go out of there way for a goal, and it’s completely pointless. There is literally no reason for them to carry out such actions other than to extend the runtime of the film. It was all unnecessary and is a direct contradiction to their overall goal. A better title for this film would’ve been, “Plot Holes Galore,” because it’s full of them.
The only positive thing I can say is at least the villain had a point. I don’t agree with him and his method of dealing with the problem, but he does have a point. That is one reason why it is worth staying to the end to see the finale. The ride there was fun, but pointless. Seeing Langdon sprint around towards the end to stop impending doom is fun. For ten minutes you may be at the edge of your seat in anticipation, but ten minutes is not worth the overall experience. Everyone has a bad day at the office, and in this case, it was the entire studio. But at least there may be a few moments that are worth your time.