Thoughts on “Inferno”
Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) finds himself in yet another dire situation involving a mankind disgusted billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) who reduces the worth of the population to nil, due to concerns of the ever increasing population, that he believes will wipe out the human race. His actions are radical, involving the release of a virus Inferno that will cleanse the world and leave the surviving humans to inhabit a world rid of over-population, but left with the nightmarish reality of hell on Earth.
Establishing it’s main villain in the opening credits leaves the impression of an over arching tyrant who wants to will his vision upon the world through force. Not surprising, his name would suggest – he is the villain – as an understatement, but like his name he is killed off mere minutes into the film, leaving the chase down to the retrieval of a virus in the name of Inferno.
Robert wakes up in Florence after an assault leaving him with amnesia. The first person he interacts with is Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) who tries to make his reorientation into the world with stability. Instantly back into the fray, after an assassin; Vayentha (Ana Ularu) are Terminator on the loose hired to assassinate Langdon for something on his persons of interest to an unknown party.
The pair head to Sienna’s apartment, cleaning Robert up, regaining simple memories and uncovering a vile placed in his suit. A Hazardous vile, opened by thumbprint, Robert Langdon’s thumbprint. Revealed inside is Dante’s Inferno, the depiction of hell, only altered in a way that leaves a clue as to the next step of the journey.
There are two conflicting parties that chase down the pair as they try to uncover the mystery of Inferno, where it is, what it will do. Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudson) & Christoph Bruder (Omar Sy) both on track to take down Langdon which motives are construed by interactions pointing the finger at the other party. This use of character deception distracts from any other channel of investigation leaving a third party to be the one to instantly take aim at, trying to misconstrued the perception of each to disguise any realm of truth to any of them.
The film handles the mystery like it’s about who can be trusted and why they should be trusted. How much can be believed and what truth can be understood as truth and not a fabrication. The lack of surprise affects – only slightly – the impact of what the journey has meant to the two.
Action scenes do deliver their sense of thrill, and most restart the chase once the tension has alleviated at times after each game of cat & mouse.
The tour of Italy remains the pièce de résistance of the film, seeking the historical and visually stunning locations which add to the thrill of the narrative, although does, at points feel like a lecture of Dante.
Yet, the film doesn’t distract attention away from the questions raised of who is really trustworthy, who is in it for what reason and why the hell would someone take action and not live to see it pull through if so engulfed with passion for it’s success. A better way to use Zobrist would be to have his path alter, but, would it be cliche to have the mastermind be there throughout, or is he just the catalyst setting things into motion?