Friday, October 28, 2016


By George M. Thomas

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones in INFERNO.
The character of Robert Langdon and his adventures should be so much more on film.  Dan Brown’s literary creation (THE DA VINCI CODE, ANGELS & DEMONS) is the Indiana Jones for the intellectual set.

Keep in mind, acting everyman Tom Hanks portrays Langdon on the screen.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  The two-time Oscar winner is always the best aspect of any film that he’s in.

However, until now with INFERNO, the material has never been as intriguing as the character. Despite the gargantuan book sales from THE DA VINCI CODE, a sense of disappointment is accompanied when watching it. 

Keep in mind and in the interest of full disclosure, when there’s nothing much on television and I’m scanning through channels and either one of the prior Langdon films are on, I stop and watch.

INFERNO will become that as well because there are few high-minded notions with respect to this film.  Ron Howard, who directs from a script by David Koepp, keeps things relatively straight forward in Langdon’s latest adventure.

The professor of religious iconography and symbology awakens with short-term memory loss in an Italian hospital where he is forced to rely on the kindness of a British doctor, Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) to help him piece together what’s happened in the previous hours.

What’s wrong with him is traced to a Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), a brilliant billionaire who has taken a bizarre theory of his own regarding overpopulation and human consumption and decided to help the process of natural selection to not be so natural after all.

He develops a virus and decides to release it, thereby killing billions and ensuring some in the human race will survive after thinning the herd and survive.

They mystery INFERNO comes from Langdon’s need to decipher clues related to Dante, the Italian poet, to get to the bottom of Zobrist’s plot.  The thrills? Langdon and Brooks have to be incredibly careful as to who they trust.

Surprise.  Guess what the best thing about Inferno is?  Hanks. The story is moderately intriguing. But the need by some  to position this as some great cinematic experience – hell, even Indiana Jones stumbled a couple of times – is misplaced.

Watching Hanks work through situations, however, never ceases to fascinate. That’s what it boils down to for Inferno.  Does it entertain?  Mostly.  If you’re not in the mood for an escapist piece of mind candy, don’t bother.

Director:  Ron Howard
Cast:  Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster
Studio:  Columbia Pictures
Rated:  PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality.
Running time:  121 minutes
George’s rating: 2.5-of-4 stars

Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, ClevelandCinemas, and

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