Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel Inferno is a very long two hours. The film begins with a suicide, a TED talk and some time spent by Tom Hanks’ character in a fiery, hellish environment filled with screaming, tormented people. By the end of the film, the audience more readily understood the feeling.
Although author Dan Brown has received heavy criticism in the past, the film actually changed several plot points in the book and some of these plot point changes contributed to the issues in the film. Brown’s ending was almost eloquent and worked well with the rest of the novel – the antagonist is presented as a complex, rounded character and his actions are reasonably debatable. However, the film turned the antagonist into a flat, depthless villain. There was little to no debate of whether his actions were wrong or right, he was depicted as irrefutably in the wrong.
Unfortunately, the antagonist was not the only flat character. None of the characters in Howard’s film adaption were fleshed out or complex in any way. There was the bad guy, the good guy, the damsel, the good cop and bad cop, and so it is not a surprise when all of the interactions between characters quickly became monotonous.
The film was all climax. At the very start, the audience is thrown into the chaos of Tom Hanks’ character, Robert Langdon. From then on, the film’s only reprieve from climactic plot points were romantic sub plot points, which the audience was made aware of through the change from typical action film soundtrack to typical romance film soundtrack. The problem with a film that’s all climax is that it quickly loses any intensity previously built. Not only that, but the same upbeat action background music plays on repeat so much throughout the film that it became laughable — almost as though this was a film parodying other action and adventure films.
Although Howard’s resumé intimidatingly lists a plethora of incredible and critically acclaimed films, Inferno simply does not measure up. Whether it was the base material that lacked or the directing itself, the big budget film was full of flat characters, clunky plot twists and a bland script.