Inferno shines a new light on Brown adaptations

Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Sienna (Felicity Jones) study the Map Of Hell and notice it has been altered in Columbia Pictures' INFERNO.

Inferno is rather different from the previous two Dan Brown adaptations. Most notably, there was more time pressure to solve the puzzle Langdon has landed himself in. Robert Langdon has a knack for finding situations in which he becomes the one that is being chased. In Inferno a combination of these two results in a story that creates tension and excitement on a complete new level.

In short, an idealist comes up with this crazy idea to obliterate half of mankind in order to ensure mankind’s survival in the near the future. Overpopulation is the biggest threat to our survival and to fix this problem the inventor has come up with a dreadful version of the plague. It is up to Langdon to stop this madness, but being haunted by hallucinations makes this task slightly more complicated than it might sound.

Inferno is different. It attempts to shy away from classic Hollywood scenes and developments. However, by trying so hard it falls into other traps. The film perpetuates the ridiculous idea of the viewer being an idiot and information having to repeat itself over and over again to ensure the viewer understands what is going on. The camera work plays a big role in this; every shot has a meaning and this is more than ever the case in Inferno. Lingering on a facial expression or zooming in on an object. The seasoned viewer will find the story predictable. Fortunately, most moviegoers are unsuccessful in noticing these shots and may receive a few surprises along the way.

The development in the film is very well done, coincidently also by camerawork. Slowly but steadily slip into focus, literally. Explaining details of what is going on not only to the viewer, but also to Langdon himself whose memory has been abandoning him for, for the moment, inexplicable reasons. Tom Hanks plays his role formidable; once again bringing Robert Langdon to life from the pages of Brown’s books. He has not changed a bit, which is actually something that is said in the film as well as he is reunited with an old acquaintance.

The largest difference by far is the alternative ending, compared to the book. The ending in the book is rather dark. While it was suggested by critics that the film has turned towards a Hollywood ending director Ron Howard denies this. Instead explains that this ending is more fulfilling for the audience and leaves less questions. This is most likely true for the general audience.

Is it worth watching? Absolutely, but don’t expect a Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons. Inferno is overwhelming on a completely different level. The first minutes will perhaps even make you wonder if you are actually watching a Dan Brown.

3.5 Stars

 

October 21st, 2016

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