Following on from its two critically-panned predecessors, Inferno, the third instalment in the Da Vinci Code series, was always going to have a difficult time winning over audiences. The old adage that familiarity breeds contempt certainly holds true here, as director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks return for another less-than-grand tour of Europe.
The non-existent characterisation presents the first set of difficulties for audiences looking to engage with the film. When your protagonist is so lacking in substance that a slight breeze could knock him over, you know things do not bode well. Once again, our hero Robert Langdon (played by Hanks), when not in a state of bewilderment or distress, appears to do little more than throw facts at whomever is close by – the effect of which is far more stupefying than enlightening.
But where the film falls down completely is in its plotting. Convoluted to the point of near-incomprehensibility, Inferno goes decidedly for the more-is-less approach to storytelling. When urgency is required, the story is brought to a halt with needless exposition and backstory; yet, perversely, when some time is needed to get one’s bearings, the film decides to charge ahead full-steam.
All of this is to say that ‘Inferno’ guarantees audiences a certain kind of experience… albeit a disappointing one. Chris Prindiville
‘Inferno’ is screening now at cinemas across Australia.