Inferno, the new movie starring Tom Hanks, is based on the Dan Brown novel of the same name. It’s the fourth in the series that includes the controversial Da Vinci Code, all of which feature the same protagonist, Professor Robert Langdon.
At the opening of the movie, Langdon (Hanks) awakens in a hospital bed in Florence, Italy, with a pounding headache and no memory of the previous 48 hours. Before he can assess his situation, an assassin dressed as a policewoman invades his room, riddling the place with bullets. With the help of his doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a self-confessed fan of Langdon’s work, he survives and evades a multi-agency dragnet. Langdon and Brooks must solve a puzzle to defeat a sinister conspiracy. Billionaire and environmental fanatic Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) has created a deadly virus, to be released at any moment to decimate the human race.
I’ll admit that the movie is exciting and visually interesting. Director Ron Howard does a great job keeping the action going and the cinematography is superb. Tom Hanks is convincing as Langdon, though his character spends much of the movie befuddled by his injuries. Felicity Jones is such a visual delight I’d watch her even if the movie was terrible. The story has some interesting twists which I’ll admit I didn’t see coming.
The story, however, is also the movie’s biggest flaw. To enjoy it, you must turn off your brain and not consider the plausibility of anything. I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know if it addresses the issues any better, but I doubt it. The plot is so riven with holes, it’s difficult to know where to start. The basic premise is not the problem; plenty of globalist elitists have expressed a desire for a plague or other disaster to “solve” the population problem.
That’s about the only thing that’s believable. To name a few of my objections: Why would Zobrist direct his followers with an elaborate puzzle, rather than using some more reliable method such as encryption? How could he believe that a one-time democide would permanently fix the overpopulation problem? It seems he’s made no provision for his group to survive the plague and guide humanity to a zero-growth future. Why would his plan depend on a single distribution locus for the virus, when viruses are easily replicated?
One plot element I did enjoy was the secretive private security firm led by Harry Sims (Irrfan Khan), a maverick businessman who makes an unlikely action hero. Since ideas can’t be copyrighted, I’m tempted to borrow this concept for a work of my own.
As for the rating, I’m seriously conflicted. Because it’s an enjoyable diversion, I could give Inferno 4 out of 5. However, I need to detect at least one star for insulting the audience’s intelligence, so let’s make it 3.
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