'Inferno' : Movie Review - Celebania


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Saturday 15 October 2016

'Inferno' : Movie Review

fiction of Dan Brown whose lead character Robert Langdon was previously involved in decoding ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (2006) and ‘Angels & Demons’ (2009). Directed by Ron Howard – who also helmed the other two films, this one gets all bloody and dirty hyperventilating about a possible species annihilating viral attack which can only be prevented if temporarily amnesiac Langdon gets to the pre-ordained location before the misguided act is set in motion. But for this he will have to jog his memory - i.e. sift through vast reserves of latent memory on Florentine art (especially Dante’s Divine comedy and Inferno) and basically decode the cryptic clues that the Billionaire terrorist, population alarmist Zobrist (Ben Foster) uses to cover his tracks.

Prof Langdon who presumably was (the last he remembers) in Boston, wakes up in a hospital in Florence, Italy with a pounding headache, ominous visions of hell and purgatory haunting him, a beautiful young Doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) tending to his wounds and an assassin hot on his heels. Sienna, who claims to have read all his books and met him way back when she was eight, clues him in on his curious circumstances alluding to a bullet graze on his scalp. But the temporary amnesiac can’t remember and has to work through the labyrinthine maze of clues designed to give anyone watching, a giant headache. To say the least - time is running out and Langdon really needs to pick up his pace and crossover to Istanbul, Turkey if he wants to save the world.

Some might dismiss Dan Brown’s super-successful third novel as alarmist propaganda. But with Earth’s population multiplying fast it’s becoming quite clear that humanity is in overspill mode and earth’s resources would be deemed too scant to measure up, in the next few decades. Dan Brown’s fourth novel was obviously meant to ring the alarm on our lack of immediacy in putting through control measures that could prevent the overspill. And as a novel it managed to keep you intrigued enough to overlook the many glitches that arrayed it’s codified plotting. Unfortunately Ron Howard’s film, adapted for the screen by David Koepp, doesn’t have the pace, tension or logical flow to keep you absorbed through its collated narration.

Conspiracy theories bordering on paranoia and superfluous dialogue portending to artistic endeavor, meant to sharpen the edges, only make it all seem a little too far-fetched and incredulous. Images of black death, the great purge from the past, flashes of a kidnapping, a mysterious shrouded woman are fleeting hellish sights given life on the streets via Langdon's visions. But they do little to alleviate the fact that there’s precious little underneath to hold you enthralled. The secret undercover organisation led by Harry Sims’ (Irrfan Khan) and its obvious links to a hired assassin may have crowded the narrative but it doesn’t quite paper over the flimsy excuses theorized for its existence and actions thereof. Robert Langdon’s loss of memory may add to the shadowy intrigue but it does not help in terms of logical flow. With the story so full of gaping logical holes, narrative unable to substantiate on its contrived origins and the principal characters’ jumping countries that loses all meaning well before the final credits roll. The cast is competent enough but the un-endearingly structured narrative nullifies even that. Hans Zimmer’s background score draws on classical forms to heighten the involvement but even that fails. Salvatore Totino’s cinematography is pretty but the depth is missing. Howard’s plotting begins quite well - with the haunting threat hanging heavy over Langdon’s already brutalized head but thereafter the reasoning fails to pass muster. The chase becomes gimmicky and the contrivances inexcusable. Frankly speaking, one would have to be an amnesiac to rate this film even as a thoughtful thriller!

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