(disclaimer: the poster used with this review is ©Imagine Entertainment, it does not belong to me)
Inferno is the latest in a trilogy of adaptations for Dan Brown’s mystery booked, which follows the character of Robert Langdon, who is played by Tom Hanks in the films. Langdon is the same character that has featured in The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons – with The Da Vinci Code being one of my favourite books and films growing up, so I was looking forward to seeing the final instalment.
I read the book for Inferno about two years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it as a Christmas holiday read, so I was excited, to see what they would do with the film. Going into the cinema, I knew the general story (which is more than I can say for those who had only seen the trailer) but I had forgotten most of the twists and turns, which I think helped keep the thrill-factor up. At least, for a while.
Inferno begins when Robert Langdon, an art historian/symbolist, wakes up in Venice with no memory of how he got there, a head wound, and various organisations chasing him because of a special artefact he has hidden in his pocket – not that Langdon even remembers what it is or how it got there. What follows (without giving anything away) is an obvious Dan Brown puzzle-solving thriller, by which I mean if you have read or seen The Da Vinci Code previously, you will know the formula Dan Brown uses to create his mysteries. Inferno is very true to this form.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t really make the film particularly ‘thrilling;. It moves fairly quickly through its hoops, but there is only one moment I could pick out where it felt like there was real danger for the two main characters. I enjoyed the mystery of the movie and its twists and turns, especially because most of that involved the historical art work and seeing those art pieces in a different way. I also learnt a lot more about Dante, the medieval poet, than I ever would have otherwise. However, the thing I found most distracting about Inferno, which really look away from my enjoyment of the film, were some of the camera shots. The only term I can really think of when describing what I was seeing is “shaky cam”, and this ‘shaky cam’ seemed consistent and unnecessary throughout the film.
I wasn’t sure whether this was accidental, the only way they could take the shots, or if it was meant to mirror Langdon’s confusion and distress as some kind of metaphor for the inside of his mind. Whatever the reason, it ended up really distracting me from following the film, and broke my suspension of disbelief at least twice. I found myself staring at the corner of the cinema screen thinking “Why is it so shaky?” more often than I was anxious for the character’s safety, which doesn’t really bode well when you’re supposed to be creating a thriller that focuses on a potential plague that will kill a third of the world’s population.
Altogether, I found Inferno an enjoyable film; it had a good story, and some good visual effects, but the actor’s performances didn’t really stand out and those camera shots completely stopped me from sympathising with the plot. My boyfriend summed up the whole thing pretty well: “It was good… but I wouldn’t watch it again.” Inferno was a fast paced and visually beautiful film; at times it was an intriguing mystery, but overall, I found it lacked conviction. Verdict: 6/10. (10/10 for making me want to travel through Europe).