Oh dear, I do find these Dan Brown screen adaptations every bit as exhausting as reading his books, and this one is no exception, though here not being quite the marathon that 'Da Vinci' was, both on screen and in print.
I've read five of Brown's novels out of the six he's written to date, 'Inferno', another in The Robert Langdon series of extravaganzas, being my only unread one. Can't say I'll be rushing to complete the set.
A familiar set-up, early history clues left around (helpfully in English) as Tom Hanks, playing Langdon again, wakes up in a Florence hospital with various non-life-threatening injuries, having lapsed memory (doesn't know how he got there nor what he's doing in Florence) and subject to bad hallucinatory visions of plagues, people with heads turned backwards, Hell itself and God knows what else, but that's enough to be getting on with. Attended in his hospital bed by an English doctor (Felicity Jones, whom we saw two years ago as Mrs Stephen Hawking in 'The Theory of Everything) he's suddenly under attack from unknown human forces, including police, with unclear motivation, and the two of them flee to lose themselves in the city. The first half of the film, set entirely in photogenic Florence is basically a chase, with Hanks filling in the blanks in his memory and trying to make sense of a projection device mysteriously found in his pocket which refers him to Dante's Inferno and a mighty plague. Being the walking encyclopedia that he is, he makes connections and works out that there's an apocalyptic event in the offing in the form of the aforementioned worldwide plague to be deliberately unleashed in order to reduce the human population by several billions down to a manageable level.
The World Health Organisation is on his track and determined to stop him by whatever means from frustrating their plans. I got a bit lost here - as I did in several other places - with so much pseudo-scientific and cryptic gobbledygook. In fact, despite virtually non-stop action this is also a very 'talkie' film. In addition to all this rigmarole there's a quest for Dante's death mask, apparently forming an intrinsic part of the puzzle. All very confusing.
After Florence the scene shifts to Venice and then to Istanbul.
Predictably, the plot involves those considered as allies turning out to be his enemies and vice versa. I hardly think that with Dan Brown that can be considered a spoiler as it's a device he likes to use over and over again.
Director of this serving of, frankly, heavy stuff is none other than Ron Howard. I doubt if this film will be considered one of his prouder achievements. Even most of the cast seem, at times, to be half-hearted about the whole fantastic caper Was Felicity Jones purposely under-acting? She never seemed to be terribly emotionally involved even when on the run with Hanks with her very own life at stake. In contrast, though, I have to say that Tom Hanks gives it his all - showing confusion and desperation on his face (just like I had with the story) without having to say a word, and in this film he is as good as he just about always is.
'Inferno' does have its moments of tension and excitement but it also requires a fair bit of concentration to follow which, ultimately, works against it providing a satisfactory level of entertainment in terms of relaxation. So if you want a film just to wash over you without you having to do much work this would not be an ideal choice. Great for Dan Brown fans, certainly, as well as for conspiracy-theorists. Not one I'd care to sit through again, though......................5.5.
6 hours ago