Originally Published on Salty Popcorn - You Can Find Several Other Reviews By Jack Dignan Here As Well
INFERNO begins with Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), the protagonist of all three movies, waking up in a hospital room with a bullet wound to the head and no recollection of the past week. He is also in Italy, which comes as quite the shock to him as he last recalls being back home in America. His doctor, Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), assures him that his memory will slowly return over the next few days, but their appointment is cut short after an attack on the hospital, and through circumstances I won’t spoil, Robert and Sienna get themselves wrapped up in a scheme that could potentially kill a lot of the world’s population.
While I can’t recall what the characters were talking about for half the movie, during the first act, this isn’t a bad thing. As this is, essentially, a mystery-thriller (I don’t know why it’s being advertised as an action film), not knowing what’s going on is part of the fun. It keeps you entertained, and the first act of the movie did a solid job at doing so. I was enjoying it, which took me by great surprise as I wasn’t expecting to, even if I had no idea what was happening. But you’re not meant to yet. It’s all about the mystery and the suspense, and it had me intrigued, wanting to know more.
What follows this rather impressive first act isn’t nearly as good, unfortunately. The second act still managed to maintain my interest, but it barely did so, and then by the time we got to the third act, I just didn’t care anymore. It’s predictable and idiotic, none of the plot twists coming as any sort of surprise, yet the more I thought about them, the less sense they made. From the moment everything is set up, I could see exactly where they were going with it. I was just hoping that, when they explain everything, they actually give it a bit of logic, but clearly I expect too much from this series. THE DA VINCI CODE tried to convince me that one of the main characters was a descendent of Jesus. I don’t really know why I thought INFERNO would be any better at explaining things.
Let’s take the movie UNBREAKABLE for example, so spoiler alert if you haven’t seen that film. In the film’s closing moments, it’s revealed that Samuel L Jackson’s character is, after all, a villain of sorts. It’s never suggested previously, but once the twist is revealed, it makes perfect sense. It’s a twist that stays true to who they are as a character, and the reveal doesn’t swap their personality around in the slightest. INFERNO tries to do this a few times, but the twists aren’t revealed seamlessly. They trade the character’s personality entirely, leaving almost no remnants of what they were.
On top of the great cast and director, Hans Zimmer also returns as the composer, and I will admit, as much as I wanted it to, the score didn’t really affect me. It’s not all that noticeable and didn’t manage to stand out. I am a big Zimmer fan, particularly his scores for Christopher Nolan films (although how can you discuss Zimmer without mentioning his iconic Pirates of the Caribbean score?), and so the fact that it isn’t a memorable score is both disappointing and surprising, so I feel as though it’s probably best I go out of my way to listen to it, or at least skim through some of his compositions just to see what they’re like outside the context of the movie. For all I know, they could be fantastic, and maybe it’s the mediocrity of the movie that’s clouding my judgement.
Almost everything we know about Sienna is told to us in about thirty seconds, and after that we’re just expected to like her, yet her character is so conflicting. She made the strangest decisions, and how she reacted to her actions was always questionable. On top of that, the film attempts to create somewhat of an antagonist. This character has about two minutes of screen time and doesn’t interact with any of the main characters, yet they’re given the role of primary villain. Their motive has no other explanation than ‘oh hey this guy wants to do a very bad thing.’ I couldn’t buy into what they were trying to do, and his plan didn’t need to be anywhere near as elaborate or complicated as it ended up being. It was the most overly dramatic way of accomplishing what he was trying to accomplish.