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    October 19, 2016

    INFERNO IS INFERIOR BUT IS STILL ENGAGING

    “Inferno” departs heavily from its original source and loses much of the coherent idea it intended to bring in the end, but is still offering an entertaining thrill against the backdrop of Florence, Venice and Istanbul.

    “Inferno” is the third Dan Brown’s adventure about the world’s renowned symbologist Professor Robert Langdon to be adapted into the movie screen by director Ron Howard. The book is a bestseller, as well as being a good read that makes you hardly want to put it down for a pause. In the movie business across the Tinsel town, it almost comes to a point that any other movie adaptation will still feel inferior than their book counterpart – that’s understandably true, given that we have lived through many to see it why.

    Then, by the third time you are making Langdon going for a spin around the exotic Medieval locations, you would have figured out that by now that they would be able to make this one correct at last. Alas, it did not – I mean not entirely of course. It is now sinking aptly and vividly that this based on one of the more famous and perhaps the better one in the four-story series, the movie comes up below its expectation. I mean, “Inferno” is not that bad, but it is also neither outstanding too.

    The story begins with Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) awaking in a hospital in Florence with no recollection of what had happen before that. With the help of Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), they evade an assassination attempt by someone in a powerful global syndicate who would stop at nothing to stop Langdon from interfering their agenda. Clueless and panic, Langdon’s only clue is a biohazard tube with its content seemingly secured by his own thumb print.

    With Brooks’ help, Langdon begins to recover his missing trail, and it turns out Langdon is deep in a mission with the Dr Elizabeth Siniskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen) at WHO. Using the clues available, they go on a hunt across Florence that is inspired by Dante’s depiction of hell – the Inferno; trying to stop a genius madman Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) in his controversial attempt to cause a plague outbreak that will cull the global population into half.

    I would have advised those who have not watch it to actually read the book first, to get the background knowledge in hand, and should later nevertheless - keep your expectation low. But in case you are familiar with the subject matter, chances are you already knew by now that the heavy departure and radical changes on the story have somehow altered the basic things we love about the book – a suspenseful and smartly twisted thriller.

    “Inferno” is barely recognizable, but at least it has something else in mind. If you view it as a standalone series, perhaps putting aside what you have known would help. After all, “Inferno” can still be a thrilling adventure, if not a particular on the edge of your seat running thriller that you crave for. As with the other movie in Langdon’s series, the standard trademark of gazing all the secret tunnels, historical Medieval locations and beautiful garden labyrinth form the basic cat-and-mouse chase that hinges the movie quite well. Then, the bonus experience with Hans Zimmer’s amazing score is definitely an ear-pleaser.

    “Inferno” is fueled exceptionally well on the casting department, with the likeable Tom Hanks is clearly comfortable on his performance as Robert Langdon. But it is Irrfan Khan’s role as the Provost that turns the story wheel and delivering some great one-liners. On the opposite, Felicity Jones offers a reliable complement to Hanks, but it is a shame not to learn more about her backstory, particularly the non-reader.

    The problem with “Inferno” is that it has an erratic and rushed start, to couple with plenty of confusing story and imagery in the first act. Likewise, many elements of the story are missing, while the remaining one is dumped too quick to a dizzying pace. It definitely means that the audience would barely have a breathing space to go through. The fast pacing ultimately kills the fun and intensity, as evidently portrayed in a short and forgettable Vasari Corridor scene. But a second viewing will probably help to make sense of these crazy pacing and arbitrary. Rating: B (3.0/5.0)

    Info Dashboard:
    INFERNO
    Casts: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster, Irrfan Khan
    Distributor: Sony Pictures (Columbia)
    Director: Ron Howard
    Screenplay: David Koepp; based on Inferno by Dan Brown
    Rating: P13
    Release date: 13 October 2016
    Running time: 122 minutes
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