Inferno (2016) – Ron Howard

Tom Hanks returns for a final outing as Dan Brown’s brilliant symbologist Robert Langdon in Inferno. This time out, Langdon is operating on the back foot from the beginning when he awakes in a hospital and is told by Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) that he was grazed by a bullet, and has suffered a concussion which is causing some retrograde amnesia and visions.

He’s not in Boston like he thought, but in Florence, Italy, and embroiled in a race against time as a brilliant multimillionaire and bioengineer, Zobrist (Ben Foster) has created a virus to help the planet deal with its overpopulation issue. This virus when released will cull half the population, but humanity and the planet would be sustainable again.

It’s a relevant problem, and while it’s a brutal solution, it’s very easy to see the reasoning behind it. Zobrist has left a path of puzzles to be resolved, and Langdon and Sienna find themselves racing across countries to discover truths, messages, and secrets pursued by a brutal police officer, Vayentha (Ana Ularu), members of the World Health Organization, and a shadowy corporation intent on protecting their client.

The path left for Langdon references art, history, and lots of Dante’s Inferno, which explains some of the visions Langdon is having. As the truth comes to light, and the reality of the situation becomes painfully clear, Langdon struggles to stop a horrific event but will he be in time?

This is the third film Howard and Hanks have made based on the Dan Brown novels, and I’ll be honest, I liked this one more than the previous, which in turn I liked more than the first. There’s a relatable problem at its heart, one that does need to be resolved, but there’s also a breakneck tale told set against and amidst gorgeous locations and art.

And as the film progresses, there’s a hint at a more emotional life for Robert, even a romance, something that helps fill out the character.

Hanks, as always, is a lot of fun to watch and surrounded by such a diverse cast, and fantastic locations, the film is a visual treat.

And while the ending goes in a completely different direction from the book, in fact, there are a number of differences, character and story, it’s a fairly solid ride.

I think the thing that is most enjoyable about these films along with it being a Tom Hanks movie is the fact that you get glimpses of great art, fantastic places some may never get to see, and something to think about.

I enjoyed the books, and the films drew me in because a combination of Ron Howard and Tom Hanks is always going to garner my attention, and as fun as they were could you imagine how the Langdon books would have played out if adapted to one long-running serialised television series?

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