Thursday, February 23, 2017

3 Short Paragraphs: Inferno

2016, Ron Howard (Apollo 13) -- download

Weird; I am not sure I can recognize a Ron Howard movie. All the great and/or well known directors have a distinct style that is easily picked out, but does he? Is it a comment on Howard or on me, if I cannot nail down one thing that makes his movie, his movie? He's definitely a popular director, attracting people to the box office and always getting named stars. But is he more the working man, maybe more interested in trying different things than establishing a style?

Inferno is the latest in the popular religious conspiracy puzzle thriller series from Dan Brown. Tom Hanks plays Robert Langdon, the professor of religious iconography and "symbology". Langdon is a pseudo Mary Sue for stuffy, tweed wearing professorial types everywhere, a 50ish pudgy man tossed into world affecting situations and saving the day. It's weird seeing Tom Hanks as the lead man in a thriller full of running, intrigue, violence and dangerous situations. But we 50ish pudgy guys need more inspirations!

This time round finds Langdon chasing after the plot of a tech billionaire, the kind that believes the world would do better if half the humans were gone. This insane mogul has setup a terribly deadly virus to be introduced at a certain time on a certain day. So, not an ancient puzzle left behind by arcane societies, like in the other movies, but a current one left by a mad man. The reason for the puzzle is a spoiler and completely defeats the genius of its play, but it still leaves us a fun romp of a movie in the incredible locales of Europe. Hanks is a skilled actor that we can easily be invested in, and while I don't see anything particular in Howard's directing, he definitely does a good job.