Inferno, review: ‘No mystery, no adventure and nothing much happens’

12:00 13 October 2016

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in Inferno. Picture: Columbia Pictures/Jonathan Prime

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in Inferno. Picture: Columbia Pictures/Jonathan Prime

(c) 2015 CTMG, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in this adaptation of Dan Brown’s third novel in the series, but it’s no improvement on the previous films or books

There’s something rather touching and noble about this third adaptation of a Dan Brown bestseller. Having had a huge box office success with their turgid

Da Vinci Code film, it would have been easy for Tom Hanks and Ron Howard to walk away.

But their Boy Scout sense of honour has compelled them to keep going back to try and make a good one. Boy, they really give it everything – a great cast, a Hans Zimmer score, beautiful locations – and, for about an hour, you kind of go along with its silliness. But you can’t make a silk purse out of a Dan Brown novel.

Inferno is like a cross between Jacob’s Ladder (90s film where a Nam vet experiences visions of hell) and puzzle solving game show Only Connect (a vision of hell for BBC2 viewers.)

Hanks’s Langdon wakes up in a Florence hospital bed with no memory of how he got there or why people are trying to kill him. Alongside nurse Felicity Jones, he gets involved in a race to unlock clues hidden in great works of art to find a deadly virus, while experiencing nightmarish visions of Dante’s Inferno.

Langdon is supposed to be a university professor but he can elude police forces, army and an armed World Health Organisation goon squad with ease, because he really knows his way around museums and tourist spots. He’s like a Jack Bauer who has all the schematics in his head.

The puzzle solving in Inferno is decidedly sub-Sherlock, but outside of that nothing much happens – it’s an adventure mystery with no mystery and no adventure.

It’s a Boris Johnson combination – it keeps flaunting its cultural learning and knowledge of classical art, while being aggressively and defiantly stupid.

The one interesting provocative angle is the idea of a scheme to save humanity from destruction by overpopulation through a savage cull.

In a world where Clinton and Trump are fighting for the presidency and Dan Brown is one of the world’s best selling authors I can’t see the point in an evil genius engineering a virus to kill off half the world’s population – at this rate we will soon idiot ourselves into extinction.

For reviews of the Warner Iconic Moments blu-ray re-release of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Goodfellas, visit

Rating: 2/5 stars


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