Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Movie Review: Inferno

Seeing that the World Series was heading towards a blowout, I decided to catch a movie last night and Inferno was the latest release. I went in with low expectations since I try to see movies before I know if they'll be a box office success and most reviews are unavoidable. In this case, i knew it was a bomb and that critics were decrying it as one of the worst movies of the year. I figured it would be awful but found that it was sort of entertaining and though the plot was convoluted, never felt too boring. 

Tom Hanks returned to play the symbologist Robert Langdon and Ron Howard also returned to direct his third Dan Brown adaptation. I can only guess that they didn't try to adapt the third book, The Lost Symbol because it would have looked too familiar to another mystery history franchise, National Treasure. The twist on this edition was that Langdon has lost his memory and finds the trail left by a delusional billionaire who threatens to wipe out half the population. Hanks isn't as terrible as I was led to believe in the poor commercials but does a decent job jumbling the dialogue.  

Helping Langdon is another young woman, Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones). Brooks is savant that was taking care of a Langdon's head wound when she joins in the chase as an assassin pursues the Harvard professor. Jones's career won't suffer too much as she has a guaranteed giant blockbuster premiering next month. Her acting is alright in this role, I've seen better and worse from her. There wasn't any romance between the two characters which helps as their chemistry is more uncle-cousin than old man romantically trying to make it with a young woman. 

The supporting cast was what I enjoyed most about the film. Irrfan Khan was at his most entertaining as a mercenary of sorts from a company that performs complex duties for billionaires. His ruthless knife fighter was fun to watch. Omar Sy didn't get much screen time as the WHO employee in pursuit of Langdon but I'd like to see him get more roles. Ben Foster plays the billionaire Bertrand Zobrist and has always delivered performances that I enjoy watching. The assassin Vayentha played by Ana Ularu didn't receive much screen time either but was fun to watch for her short part. Sidse Babett Knudsen has caught my interest in Westworld and was a nice bonus in what will most likely be the final installment of this series.

The series as a whole has never been anything special but fun popcorn flicks that take us to locations viewer may otherwise never see. Brown had mastered the formula of taking his character through museums and in front of famous paintings while being chased by crazed, gun-toting assassins. This final film hinges on a mad billionaire in the present day and not as much on the mysterious history of artists, in this case Dante, and their secret codes. Overall, I think my low expectations made the film much more bearable if I had thought it was going to be a decent film. 

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