INFERNO – Review by Susan Granger

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Director Ron Howard and actor Tom Hanks have previously collaborated on The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels and Demons (2009). So what happened to their adaptation of Dan Brown’s thriller is a mystery. This time, renowned Harvard art historian/“symbologist” Robert Langdon (Hanks) gets mixed up with a villainous billionaire, Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), who is determined to reduce the world’s population by unleashing a sinister super-virus as an apocalyptic plague. But Langdon doesn’t know what’s happening when he awakens in Florence, Italy, in a hospital room. He has amnesia, plus a nasty cut on his head. At his side is Dr. Siena Brooks (Felicity Jones, whose two front teeth, unfortunately, resemble Chiclets). Read more…

Soon, they’re both on the run, relentlessly pursued from Venice to Istanbul by an assassin (Ana Ularu), dressed as a Carabinieri and employed by enigmatic Harry Sims (Irrfan Khan) from a covert security company, along with Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen), director of the World Health Organization, who once had a romantic relationship with Prof. Langdon.

Alluding to Botticelli’s painting, depicting Dante’s conception of Hell, the film consists of a series of prophecies, visions and trippy hallucinations, peppered with extended chase sequences, searching – in vain – for a coherent plot.

The clumsy script by David Koepp (“Jurassic Park”) is rambling and disjointed, and Ron Howard’s direction is consistently chaotic.

One sequences has Langdon and Brooks darting through Florence’s Boboli Gardens, eluding a drone, before darting into the Palazzo Vecchio to track down Dante’s death mask. Then they’re off to examine the horses atop St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

The climax is set in Istanbul’s subterranean Basilica Cistern, built in 532 during the reign of Emperor Justinian I. Film buffs may recall that James Bond rowed through it in “From Russia With Love.”

Finally, adding insult to injury for fans of Dan Brown’s best-sellers, the conclusion was changed because, according to Howard, “it wasn’t cinematic.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Inferno” is an inane, frenzied 4, fumbling the franchise.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.