‘Inferno’ burns out in theaters

Tom Hanks returns to the big screen as Robert Langdon in “Inferno,” a mystery thriller that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats and leaves them with an uneasy feeling. 

Despite the title, “Inferno” burnt out at the box office, making only $149 million after opening in theaters on Oct. 28. Directed by Ron Howard, the film is painfully suspenseful but pieced together to form a blunt history lesson on Dante Alighieri.

Based on the 2013 novel, “Inferno” is the sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons,” both novels written by Dan Brown. The third installment follows professor Langdon after he wakes up in an Italian hospital with head trauma and no memory of the past 48 hours or the events that led him to Florence.

The film opens with a voiceover from Ben Foster’s character, Bertrand Zobrist. Zobrist is shown running away from a group of men only to be cornered on top of a tower in Florence. With no way out, Zobrist hurls himself off of the tower and commits suicide. Viewers later learn that Zobrist believed overpopulation was going to lead to the end of the human race, so he developed a virus named Inferno that could wipe out half of the world’s population. To add to the drama, Zobrist was also a fan of the Italian poet, Dante. Zobrist somehow knew that he would not live to release the virus himself, and the voiceover explains that he hid it and left clues related to Dante in order for his partner to find it.

The movie then cuts to the discombobulated Langdon laying in a hospital bed. The camera switches in and out with Langdon’s blurry perspective. He stares out of his hospital window and wonders how and why he ended up in Florence. His confusion and the drama-filled plot increases when an assassin called Vayentha bursts into the hospital looking for Langdon’s room and starts firing her gun at the hospital aids.

The overload of historical facts certainly puts out some of its flares and hindered its overall likeability.

— Marley Parish

Langdon’s doctor, Sienna Brooks, played by Felicity Jones, helps him escape from the hospital, and they hide in her apartment. When Langdon wakes up, Brooks questions him profusely, only creating more questions and complexities within the plot.

Brooks gives Langdon her unnamed male friend’s clothes to change into. While changing, Langdon finds a high-tech bio-tube in his jacket pocket that he does not recognize. The tube holds a picture of Botticelli’s “Map of Hell” that was an original illustration for Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” This is only the beginning of the history lessons that crowd the movie’s dialogue.

Langdon and Sienna then venture to the Palazzo Vecchio to examine Dante’s death mask and a painting by Vasari. While there, Marta, who is a curator at the museum, recognizes Langdon. He pretends to remember her. Once they realize that the mask is missing, they watch the security footage and see Langdon stealing the mask. Of course, he has no memory of this event. The interrogation of Langdon is cut short when the World Health Organization and the assassin invade in order to take Langdon into custody.

Langdon skillfully steals Marta’s access card in order to escape the Palazzo with Brooks. The majority of the movie features the couple running from government officials, deciphering Zobrist’s trail and somehow finding shortcuts and secret tunnels in historical buildings, all while educating viewers on the history of Dante.

Later on, viewers are introduced to a secret international security organization called the Consortium, led by Harry Sims, played by Irrfan Khan, who awkwardly jokes about the different ways he has murdered people, created illusions and staged crime scenes.

Today it seems like no movie is without unrequited love, and “Inferno” is no exception. Langdon is reunited with a former flame throughout the never-ending chases through the Serene Republic. As viewers attempt to connect the complex plotlines, they are bombarded with lessons about the “Horses of Constantinople” and other artwork amongst randomly peppered in hints to Langdon’s lost love.

There is plot twist after plot twist in “Inferno,” and to be honest, I did not see most of them coming. However, I found myself laughing and feeling slightly guilty for it because of the direness of the film’s main conflict.

The film ends in an intense chase and drawn out struggle that had me nervously biting my nails even though the ending was semi-predictable, especially if you have seen either “The Da Vinci Code” or “Angels and Demons.”

“Inferno’s” dramatic twists and turns created some noteworthy scenes, but it did not leave me with a burning desire to watch it again or read Brown’s books. The film has just enough drama and suspense to hold viewers’ attention, but the overload of historical facts certainly put out some of its flares and hindered its overall likeability.