Ron Howard is on fire.
Inferno (2016): 7 out of 10: I have a confession. I liked the Dan Brown books and honestly; I don’t really understand the amount of stick they get. He is no Umberto Eco mind you but he is hardly Stephenie Meyer. The other confession? I have not liked the film adaptations.
The first was one was okay mind you but Angel’s and Demons was the kind of train wreck that really requires Mike and the robots to enjoy.
Hope springs eternally and while director Ron Howard has had some misses recently, star Tom Hanks is always a dependable watch. I was expecting a decent movie and got a good one. Even more shocking, Ron Howard’s direction is one of the strengths this time.
First off, though, let me get this out of the way. The story is pulpy illogical nonsense. We can see the twist in the middle from space and the twist, at the end, makes zero sense. (Still better than Angels and Demons Illuminati scavenger hunt, however.)
What works though is the visuals. Ron Howard creates visions of hell that are actually effective and creative. The travelogue element is beautiful and unlike Angels and Demons (God I hated that movie) it is in daylight so one can actually see and enjoy the scenery. (Angels and Demons didn’t have permission to film in Vatican City so a lot of the scenes were at night, in the rain with all the lights turned off.)
As for the cast, Irrfan Khan steals every scene he is in, Tom Hanks is dependable as usual. Sidse Babett Knudsen is dull and has zero chemistry with her costars, Omar Sy almost gives an OJ Simpson Naked Gun performance that seems like it should be in a Pink Panther film, and Felicity Jones does that pixie eyes thing so all is forgiven there (No actress could really make her character work so she gets points for looking cute while flailing around.)
Overall, a fun film with good visuals, some decent performances, and a silly story. Grab some popcorn.