If you enjoy fast-paced, action-packed mysteries, then Inferno is the best new release to see. In Inferno, Tom Hanks continues his role as Robert Langdon, the genius from Harvard who fought villains in The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels and Demons (2009). In the third installment, Robert Langdon finds himself in a race against time to stop a billionaire’s evil ploy to release a deadly virus capable of wiping out half of Earth’s population.
In the beginning of the movie, Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia and a head wound. He has horrible images in his head of dead bodies floating in rivers of blood and the Earth being engulfed in flames. He eventually escapes the hospital with Doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) after there is a shooting at the hospital. They are on a mission to stop the plan of a billionaire geneticist named Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), who hid a deadly virus with instructions on how to find and unleash it. Zobrist said, “Humanity is the disease, Inferno is the cure.” They follow clues based on works by Dante, a famous Renaissance Italian poet who described his journey through hell in his epic poem Inferno, part of his The Divine Comedy. Zobrist is obsessed with Dante, and Langdon is very familiar with his work.
The clues include Sandro Botticellis’s Map of Hell and Dante’s death mask, an object that Langdon discovers he stole from the Palazzo Vecchio (but he has no memory of it.) It is a race against time. Langdon and Brooks are also being chased by the World Health Organization and a private security company called “The Consortium.” They are shot at, they race through hidden passages in Florence, and they decipher clues throughout the movie.
Director Ron Howard and Tom Hanks deliver an entertaining film with Inferno. Shot mostly in Florence, the scenery is stunning. Langdon does what he does best, which is battling evil by solving mysteries rich in history and hidden meaning. I would highly recommend Inferno to people who loved the prior two movies in this trilogy, as Tom Hanks nails it once again. However, one downside to the film is the many subplots and twists and turns that seem unnecessary to the main plot. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times said, “The story may not make any sense, but they’re going to throw so much stuff at you — so many jumpy moves, so many tangled story threads — you might not notice (or care).” Many critics also seem to think that Inferno is following a recipe established by the first film. Edward Douglas of the New York Daily News said, “History is repeating itself: Tom Hanks is back as Professor Robert Langdon, the historians’ answer to James Bond.”
My only criticism is that Langdon solves the puzzles that are presented to him so quickly it is hard to follow. He takes an obscure line from a Dante poem and concludes that “we must rush to the Palazzo Vecchio.” Having said that, this is also what makes the Langdon franchise so compelling.