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Movie Night – ‘Inferno’ offers more grit than other two

By Bradley Griffith

Odds are that just about everyone reading this has at some time heard about, seen the movie, or read the book “The Da Vinci Code,” featuring Robert Langdon as the main character. “Inferno” is the third movie based on a novel by Dan Brown featuring Tom Hanks as Langdon, a Harvard professor and symbologist.  “Inferno” defies the odds and is better than the original movie of the series, though maybe not as good as “Angels and Demons.”

“Inferno” starts a bit differently than the other movies in the series.  Langdon (Hanks) wakes in a hospital with a head injury from a bullet with no memory of how he was injured or how he made it to the hospital.  He’s even more surprised that rather than being in the United States, he is in a hospital in Florence, Italy.

Langdon is being cared for by emergency room physician Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones).  She informs Langdon that three days have passed since he entered the hospital mumbling unintelligible words and bleeding from his head wound.  Langdon has short-term memory loss, is disoriented, and is experiencing strange visions of incredible suffering.

As Sienna is attempting to help him regain his memory an attack occurs at the hospital.  A woman dressed like a police officer shoots an orderly and tries to kill Langdon before Sienna helps him escape.  At Sienna’s apartment Langdon finds a clue in the pocket of his jacket that projects an altered version of Botticelli’s famous painting “Map of Hell,” based upon descriptions in Dante’s “Inferno.”

The alterations in the projection are a clue, and they lead him to billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster).  Quick research on the Internet shows that Zobrist is an activist against global overpopulation.  He believes that the world is on the brink of disaster and mankind on the edge of extinction.  Langdon comes to believe that Zobrist (who killed himself three days prior) has created a man-made plague designed to kill half the population of the entire planet.  Langdon must use his knowledge of Dante and ancient symbols to find the location of the virus before it escapes into the world.

If you liked the first two movies in the series, or if you like these kind of adventures, then you will enjoy “Inferno.”  Langdon must use all his knowledge and puzzle-solving ability to stop a mass extinction of half of humanity.  The movie is a good combination of history, science, adventure, and current events that together make the movie both very interesting and fast paced.  The use of Dante’s “Inferno” to illustrate the very real danger of overpopulation is unusual, but it makes for an entertaining movie.

The locations in the movie act as characters by themselves.  Florence is prominently featured, specifically the Palazzo Vecchio that includes Roman ruins, a Medieval fortress, and Renaissance chambers and paintings.  It also holds the death mask of Dante.  While Florence is the main locale of the movie, Langdon and Sienna also travel to Venice and Istanbul on their quest.  “Inferno” showcases many of the wonders of the three cities involved.

The beginning of the movie is very well written and different from other similar movies.  Langdon thinks he is still in Boston and that it’s three days earlier.  He has no idea where he is, what’s happening, who’s chasing him, or what he needs to do.  And neither will you.  This type of a beginning makes the movie start with a bang and creates secrets that are revealed one at a time as the plot unfolds.

“Inferno” is a bit grittier than the first two Robert Langdon movies.  The subject of Dante and his version of Hell gave the filmmakers no other choice.  In fact, it makes the film feel more genuine.  While the Robert Langdon movies could never be as good as the books that inspired them, fans of the books or movies will not want to miss the adventure of “Inferno.”

Grade: A-

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements, and brief sensuality.