Tom Hanks shines, Felicity Jones is bewitching before her Rogue One performance – but the rest of the film falls flat.
Inferno is the latest film adaptation of Dan Brown’s popular mystery thrillers. Starring Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones, the film depicts a more vulnerable Professor Robert Langdon, who, this time, is working without much of his memory. He’s forced to rely on Doctor Sienna Brooks (Jones), who is helping him after Langdon escapes an ambush at the hospital. In typical Langdon fare, the professor – accompanied by a beautiful woman – spends much of his time running around Europe.
This is another case in which a book become a casualty of screenwriters. You don’t have to go that far to remember the last adaptation fail; The Girl on the Train came out a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it was terrible. I have a lot of questions about the direction the back half of this film went in, as it diverts quite a bit from the novel. As someone who enjoyed the book, I found myself disappointed. The book makes it clear not everything is as black-and-white in life as it might seem in the film. There’s also a couple of continuity errors that irked me, which – if you’re paying attention, you will definitely pick up on at the end. In some cases, Langdon is also too unbelievably quick in making his way out of the puzzle maze – even for Langdon. In some cases, I could believe it; let it slide. At other times…it was irritating.
Another irritating point with this film included the vision scenes. While some of them were well-executed, some of them were laughable, to the point where I didn’t feel concerned for Langdon – I felt as if he was on a full-on acid trip. Some of the visuals don’t really work in this case, and while some might argue that they do work in the context of the story, I counter that with, “if they’re too out there, and they don’t make sense, then the viewer won’t care…and you’ll have wasted all that time shooting all those scenes for those two minutes passed off as insignificant.”
I’m also not sure how much sway Hanks had with the script, but I’m curious to know if he had something to do with some of the changes to the character profiles; there are two female characters in particular I have questions about. They also affect his relationship with him. I don’t think it will affect those who haven’t read the books as much, but, once again, the Inferno book-reading crowd won’t likely be too thrilled.
There are a few shining moments, however. While they’re not enough to save this movie from its own impending doom, they are notable, and make the film slightly more tolerable. Jones – as Sienna Brooks – has a few solid lines, including one at one of the turning points in the film. Ben Foster as Bertrand Zobrist is charismatic; he’s the kind of guy I could believe hundreds of thousands of people will become sheep for. While this is definitely not Hanks’ finest performance, it’s still pretty good, and he does well in the moments where his memories are impacted.
Inferno is nothing to go wait in line at midnight over, but it could be an okay film for a cheap Tuesday night. While this isn’t as bad as The Girl on the Train, it’s up there with all the book-to-film adaptations that were disappointing at the box office. That is, at least for me.
Just barely three lost relics out of five.