The Dante Code – ★★½
The virus is never going to be released. Don’t even pretend you thought it might be or go giving out that this is in some way a spoiler. With a Dan Brown inspired film directed by Richie Cunningham from Happy Days a.k.a. Ron Howard the virus was never going to be released. So now that is out of the way we can talk about what Inferno is really about, an Italian tourism video with nifty puzzles thrown in for good measure.
Tom Hanks is back as Robert Langdon, but when we first meet he’s all dazed and confused having suffered an attempt on his life. Luckily when they come to finish the job a resourceful doctor played by Felicity Jones helps him escape and as chance would have it she’s great at puzzles and knows Dante better than Neil Hannon. The pair are soon embroiled in a race against the clock to discover what nefarious plan modern Bond villain billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) has devised.
It has all the hallmarks of a good treasure hunt; clues, different locations, brain teasers, misdirection and chases. The whole franchise is a thinking man’s Indiana Jones. Well not quite a thinking man’s perhaps a pyjama man’s or a tea and digestive biscuit man’s Indiana Jones. Tom Hanks easily falls into the rhythms required for Langdon, furrowed brows, frantic scribbling and a non condescending way of explaining the silly plot points.
The stand-out role and what makes the film worth the price of admission is Irrfan Khan as the Provost. Head of a secret security organisation he gets the best lines and delivers them with such playful menace he must surely be considered a bond villain in future outings.
As mentioned previously the film really is just a vehicle to show off how beautiful Italy looks when shot it in IMAX and once you get rid of all the smelly tourists. The appeal with most Dan Brown adaptions is that we feel we are being told a secret and shown things never before seen. Which works perfectly well up until a point, here being the last twenty minutes when it all goes a bit Stop the Pigeon. Behind all the clues and Dante malarkey is a very valid and important question regarding overpopulation and the exhaustion of the world’s natural resources. What is this a Wernor Herzog film? No it’s not.
Inferno opens nationwide on Friday 14th of October