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When I was first introduced to the character of Robert Langdon, it was via the film The Da Vinci Code back in 2006, when I was in my last year of university. With the release of the film, it sparked a wave of students and would be “code breakers” into the Renaissance art history classes that I was taking. Us art history majors snickered at all of the newbies that would pop up their hands to interrupt the professors to ask about works and concepts that pertained to the popular film. From then on, I muttered to myself, I would swear off any and all media that had Dan Brown’s stamp on it. Cut to a few months later, when I was feeling ill, and my Mum came over to my house to console me. She had brought The Da Vinci Code DVD over and I was too weak to object. I sat and I watched it and I was surprisingly entertained. From then on, I was a convert. I had fallen head over heels in love with the Robert Langdon character. After all, he made us art history nerds seem downright useful, and that was a novel concept indeed.
Like the two films before it, Inferno lives in Robert Langdon’s world; a world of unlimited access into the inner sanctums of museums and galleries and world heritage sites with a slew of ph. D’s to follow. It’s also a world of cute, brilliant and young brunettes hungry for a police chase, ancient codexes and clues found in Italian renaissance paintings.
Inferno opens with the quandary “half of the world’s population will be dead at the end of the day, or the entire human race will be extinct in a 100 years, what would you do?” From there, we are quickly whisked to a hospital room where Robert Langdon, still groggy and disoriented from a rather severe blow to the head is met with a, you guessed it, a pretty young thing with a background solving codes and puzzles! It becomes quickly apparent that like The Da Vinci Code, Langdon is a wanted man, and must get out of the hospital, or risk being shot. To be honest, there were some moments that I found heavy handed, like the fact that Langdon’s sidekick has a suit that fits him to a “t,” just kicking around her Florence apartment. And speaking of sidekicks, like all of his previous “helpers,” the only person who could possibly aid him in his wild goose chase to save the world again was a gorgeous young woman who was a fan of his work.
Apart from some of those eye-rolling points and a few more, the film was entertaining and was fast-paced and well-cast. Tom Hanks played an older but just as robust Robert Langdon, while Felicity Day tagged along as Dr. Sienna Brooks, and Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen was Langdon’s forlorn love interest. Like the previous films, and unlike, say a Bond film, things were kept above board and G-rated between Langdon and Brooks, with having them not fall in love or lust with each other. There were some plot twists and turns that I genuinely didn’t see coming that made for a fun movie. If one is interested in learning more about Italian renaissance art and culture, pick up a book. But if one wants a fun ride through Western Europe’s heritage sites with director Ron Howard at the helm for two hours, check out Inferno.
Inferno premieres in cinemas October 14.