Sunday, October 16, 2016

Movie Review: INFERNO

Based on the book by Dan Brown, Inferno finds professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) in Florence as he wakes up in a hospital being taken care of by doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) and he does not remember anything of the past two days. Quickly, details start to emerge,Langdon  is hunted down at the hospital, escapes with Sienna and discovers he is on the run and the only clue he has is a map of Dante's Inferno.

Ron Howard is one of my personal filmmaking heroes, yet that does not keep me from calling The Da Vinci Code what it is: a bloated, interminable mess of a film with little charm to it. On the flip side, I was one who actually really enjoyed Angels & Demons and in the same way I had my fair share of fun and enjoyment with Inferno and stand proud of such no matter how many times you call upon me how dumb some of the stuff they say in these movies can sound: it is part of the fluff this entertainment is designed to be.

Look, does this plot make sense for even two seconds when you strip it down with character motivations and internal logic? No. I don't think neither David Koepp nor Ron Howard believe this thing makes sense to the core. It is ludicrous and it is meant to be so, that's what makes it so effortlessly fun. There is no way you can ground a conspiracy theory between renaissance artists and the contemporary destruction of the world keeping a straight face, at least not that I know of, so the film knows what it is and succeeds in giving us two hours of solidly crafted entertainment without making you feel stupid. It instead treats the whole ordeal seriously enough for you to be engaged, but rarely so dramatically to lose the audience.

What makes Ron Howard a great director is the fact that he is an instinctive storyteller, this guy's a natural phenomenon at telling stories and when we see Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, or Rush we are just effortlessly engrossed by these larger than life stories thanks to a flow and a grit in the filmmaking that immediately distinguish a Ron Howard picture. "Inferno" might be different in regards to story and plot, but the same sharp filmmaking is displayed, the same confidence in every edit is shown here. Howard is a director that knows this medium by heart and even when the weakest of story points is being developed he will find a way to make it come through to an audience.

What it basically comes down to is that the filmmaker's intention here is to take you by the hand and make you jump into the fun, the film is basically saying to you: "come on, lets go and have ourselves an adventure", one of those adventures that just feels like a wild ride. That's what this film is. Of course it has a couple of stumbles in it of itself: a shoehorned in romance, a slightly predictable plot twist, a couple of plot points that get left behind.

Still, no matter how nonsensical everything is, how completely insane the plot manages to go, how every character seems to be a mastermind of chases and action, not even Tom Hanks' haircut matters, all of this is fitted into a package that manages to hold the strings together and give an audience a ride, it won't be one like Terminator of course, but it will be a ride that respects the audience and entertains them.

Inferno walks the fine line between making you laugh at the ridiculousness and engaging you in the drama perfectly. It is a technically impeccable film with powerful and energetic directing behind it that manages to overcome story and plot inconsistencies, thanks to what at the heart of it is a nice character, portrayed perfectly as always by Tom Hanks. I entered the theater and left it perfectly conscious I was not getting the new, hot Oscar contender, but the experience I had was filled with a pleasant tension and sense of fun.

James's Score: 7/10

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