It’s almost Halloween, little kids are dressing up, there’s Halloween themed internet posts and the stores are ready to get out the Christmas decorations. I should be knee deep in horror films (bad and good) and instead I get… Inferno. What happened, Hollywood? Did you read my reviews last year and decide not to make any more? Because if that’s it, I didn’t mean it, I swear. I’d rather have all the bad horror films than whatever this was. Maybe I’m just cranky this week, but I wasn’t a fan of Inferno. If you love Dan Brown and his movies, I’m warning you up front: don’t read this review. I’m going to trash this puppy and there’s going to be spoilers.
So. There’s a global threat and the only one who can stop the annihilation of the human race is one man who’s dedicated his life to developing an impractical skill . Recruited by a government agency, he must use the mastery that he alone possesses to to foil the plot of a nefarious villain while trying to sort out his personal life. Sound familiar? It should – they made this movie last year.
That’s right, they remade Pixels. Sure some of the details are different: Tom Hanks not Adam Sandler, a man-made virus not aliens, religious iconology instead of video game prowess. It’s a slightly different tone, the colours are more muted. But the fact remains that the plot revolves around a series of events so unlikely that the words ‘tortuously contrived’ come to mind. The first one, The Divinci Code, wasn’t that bad. Somehow a cabal of ancient templars (or whatever it was) bent on keeping an ancient biblical secret seemed more thematically correct for an expert of symbology than foiling a billionaire trying to unleash a plague.
The pacing was a bit off. We spent the first half of the movie following Tom Hanks, who has no idea what’s going on. He has amnesia, headaches, visions and a rash that’s slowly spreading. People are chasing him while he feverishly deciphers clues to no discernible end. This all sounds very exciting but trust me, past the first hour it gets old fast. Especially when the Big Reveal comes not much really changes except his headaches – he’s still being chased and frantically deciphering clues.
Still it wasn’t all bad. You can shoot a movie in Venice and I’ll eat it up every time. I did like some characters quite a bit and there were some great one-liners and plot twists (plural). I especially liked some of the imagery of Hell that the main character had while he was still out of it. I found the villain’s motivation extremely credible (the only credible thing in the film frankly). The acting was, of course, excellent, although I can’t help thinking that this is EXACTLY the kind of film Mark Wahlberg could have saved. “What are they doing now? I don’t know, but Mr. Walberg’s last shirt button is hanging by a thread while they decipher the latest Dante clue.” “Yay! They did it but wouldn’t such an intelligent villain have a back-up pla…. wow, that is one wet T-shirt….”
So is Inferno worth watching? No. Not even if you liked The Davinci Code. If you find yourself disappointed, remember I told you not to read this review. Still, I can’t help feeling like I’m being unfair. This was based on a book, maybe something was lost in translation. For a film with such an intellectual main character, I had expected Inferno to be smarter. As it was, I would have rather watched Tom Hanks land a plane for two hours.