“Inferno:” a mystery undone by its own complexity


Editor’s Note: The grading system used here is similar to the 10-point scale used in SDSU courses.


Disease doesn’t discriminate between to who lives and who dies. Disease is a silent, unbiased killer with one goal: take as many lives as possible. That’s why it’s so scary to us.

So what better subject material for a film?

“Inferno” is the third film in the “Da Vinci Code series,” based off the books written by Dan Brown. This latest entry in the film franchise plays off of man’s fear of disease to maximum effect.

The film begins and we are quickly introduced to the character, Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), a Harvard religion professor, who seems to have just had a run-in with the wrong side of the law. The renowned symbologist is in a hospital bed after suffering a gunshot wound to the head.

Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) arrives and has just enough time to administer her best bedside manner before an assassin dressed as a police officer attempts to kill them.

The two escape and quickly discover the Harvard professor is involved in yet another high-stakes treasure hunt. This time, Langdon and his newest brunette female sidekick must find Inferno, a virus with the ability to kill half the world’s population in a matter of days if released.

The virus was created by billionaire bioengineer Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster). He’s another one of those “save-the-world-by-destroying-it” idealists, but he does make interesting arguments for his extremism.

From the World Health Organization to a shady security firm, to our hero Robert Langdon, everyone is fighting to gain control of the virus for their own reasons.

Actions in the film are motivated by love and idealism, politics and greed. It’s engrossing to watch a barrage of characters fight for control of the virus for every reason you can think of.

While the characters themselves were pretty far from captivating, there is an extremely well placed plot twist that brings both surprise and heartache.

However, this film’s major flaw lies in this plot line. As you’re watching it unfold, at times it becomes impossible to discern who is on whose side. There are some fairly obvious plot holes that demand more explanation.

Then, there’s the film’s constant cuts to Langdon’s amnesia-induced visions and flashbacks to another time. It’s as if you’re being ripped from the present, only to be dropped in either an acid trip or a couple’s romantic home video. As a seasoned director, Ron Howard should’ve known to avoid these gimmicks.

But the locations in the film are stunning to see and the questions asked by the film’s narrative call for a lot of consideration. Hans Zimmer provides the score here and, at times, the electronic beats resonating under the film’s action made my hair stand on end.

At the end of the day, there’s a truly great film buried underneath the over-complicated plot and silly characters in “Inferno.” If those elements are burned away, you’re left with a pretty fiery mystery.

Ian Lack is an advertising major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected].