Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
Franchises are popular with moviegoers because it they know they won’t be let down. The predictability and recognizable characters are like a comfortable pair of old slippers that promise familiarity in a multiplex full of jump scares, subtitles, and violent Action Flicks. Retreading familiar ground for the third installment in his successful Robert Langdon Trilogy, Ron Howard’s Inferno is sure to draw fans of the Dan Brown-penned Series.
Based on the fourth book in the Series, Inferno finds Langdon (played by a paunchy Tom Hanks) with virtually no memory of how he arrived in Dr. Sienna Brooks’ (Felicity Jones) Florence hospital. His frequent apocalyptic flashbacks offer neither solace nor clues as he and Brooks find themselves trying to outrun a determined gunwoman, the World Health Organization, and even drones as they race against time to stop the release of a deadly virus created by the Malthusian Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster).
In true Langdon style, the clues to the location of the virus are found in artwork and historical locations across Europe. As hinted in the Movie’s title, the key to unravelling the mystery is the 14th century poem by Dante Alighieri. From Botticelli paintings to death masks, the action takes us from Florence to Vienna and finally to Istanbul where Langdon finds himself in the middle of the Dante’s 7th circle of hell – violence.
If Howard and Hanks seem to be occasionally phoning it in, the newcomers to the Series more than make up for it. Whether in the thick of the fight or overseeing his private security firm from its headquarters somewhere in the Adriatic Sea, Irrfan Khan seems to delight in his role as the mysterious Provost. Likewise, Omar Sy makes working for the WHO look like more fun than being James Bond. Rounding out the supporting cast and pulling in the Movie’s younger demographic, Foster’s earnest mad scientist and Jones’ archly superior millennial doctor (“I use Google.”) are further notches in a year of great roles for both actors.
As Oscar season prepares to begin in earnest it is important to recognize that not every Movie is made with the little gold man in mind. Movies are primarily a form of escapism – a two-hour ticket into a world where good always overcomes evil and a symbology professor can save the world. You don’t have to be crazy about puzzles to know that Inferno is a safe bet at the theatres this weekend.
Sony Pictures Canada release Inferno on Friday, October 28, 2016.