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Released 14 October 2016
Director Ron Howard

Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ana Ularu, Kata Sarbo, Ida Darvish
Writer(s) David Koepp

Michael De Luca, Andrea Giannetti, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard

United States, Japan, Turkey, Hungary
Running Time 121 minutes
Genre Mystery, thriller
Rating 12A

Hanks. Howard. Hell.

Tom Hanks spends most of the running time of Inferno with a look of pained confusion on his face. I can empathise; the third film based on the novels of Dan Brown was a bit of a head-scratcher for me too. Never having seen any of Dr. Robert Langdon’s previous escapades (as I’m not a masochist), I was just as confused as he was when hastily drawn characters were flung into his path and he began to experience visions of hell on earth. Again, I can empathise.

We begin the film as Langdon (Hanks) wakes up in a hospital bed with a gash to his scalp and a case of short-term amnesia. He has no idea what has happened to him, or indeed what he’s doing in Florence, Italy. When his hospital room is suddenly attacked by gun-toting Carabinieri, Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) helps him escape and agrees to give him shelter while he finds out what he’s gotten himself mixed up with. As it turns out, he’s become mixed up with a wealthy industrialist (Ben Foster) who plans to release a deadly virus, thereby culling the human race in the name of environmentalism. So begins an extended chase sequence through picturesque historical locations.

To its credit, it was this visual aspect that made the film worthwhile for me. Ron Howard is a stylish and talented director (despite his questionable taste in material) and the film looks lovely. As a fan of beautiful architecture, I was quite happy to follow Hanks and Jones as they stumbled through the Hagia Sophia and the Doge’s Palace. If I could have done this without being troubled by the silly and tedious action of the plot, my mood would have improved exponentially.

Sadly though, Inferno’s boredom levels are as infectious as the Macguffin virus at the centre of the plot. Even the talented cast have succumbed to its stultifying effects, as they fail to emote in the face of the overwhelmingly pedestrian script. Only Irrfan Khan manages to inject some liveliness into his performance – Hanks, Jones and Sidse Babett Knudsen all seem to have had personality bypass surgery to prepare for their roles.

Inferno is not the worst film I’ve ever seen by any stretch of the imagination but it is horribly bland. Its visions of hell are not all that horrific, its action never sets the pulse racing and its levels of silliness aren’t even high enough to make it a fun watch. Unless you’re a huge fan of Byzantine architecture, I’d advise against a trip to Hell.

- Linda O’Brien