Movie Must-Watch: Inferno, From Da Vinci to Dante

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in Columbia PIctures' "Inferno."

What would hell on Earth look like? Inferno, the final sequel to The Da Vinci Code, arrives with an intellectual thrill-ride

Photos: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Singapore

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in Columbia PIctures' "Inferno."

Author Dan Brown’s iconic hero, famous symbologist Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks), has moved on from his days of breaking Da Vinci’s code. Now, he’s back in action with different state of mind — and his biggest challenge yet.

Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, haunted by feverish visions and intense headaches. He finds a mysterious artefact in his possession, and discovers that he is a wanted man. His only respite is Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones from The Theory of Everything), a doctor he hopes can help him recover his memories.

Brown describes, “Robert Langdon goes through his own personal form of hell at the opening of this movie — his personal Inferno… He has to follow a trail of clues to find out who wants him dead and why.”

Omar Sy in Columbia Pictures' "Inferno," starring Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones.

French actor Omar Sy as Christoph Bouchard, who believes he has found the ‘solution’ to overpopulation.

Hell on Earth

As the duo races against the clock, Langdon is perturbed by hallucinations and strange clues relating to Dante’s epic poem, “Inferno”, the Latin word for “Hell”. They point to something far greater than Langdon’s physical problems, and hint at a devastating fate for mankind.

This is what Brown imagined what a modern Hell would be: An overpopulated world pushing Earth beyond its means. For this Hell on Earth, Brown borrows inspiration from Dante’s idea of poetic justice, unleashing a deadly disease that will kill billions.

What resulted is a masterpiece where Brown translates the Italian poet’s epic into a contemporary psychological thriller. He shares, “I’d read Dante as a kid, both in high school and college, but I had to re-read it many times to try to understand how to make a 13th Century epic poem palatable as a thriller.”

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in Columbia PIctures' "Inferno."

Tom Hanks returns with new partner

Returning as Langdon from the previous two films — The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels & Demons (2009) — Hanks provides some insight into the enduring attraction of the series. He muses, “Everybody likes a good puzzle, especially one you can actually figure out the clues to one at a time and solve… [These movies are] almost an interactive film.”

Joining him this time around is Jones as Dr Brooks, who is a more complex character than some may expect. Jones coyly reveals, “Sienna Brooks is not everything she seems.” In fact, the character is so nuanced that Jones repeatedly consulted the original novel for “little clues about her backstory” in order to play the part.

Another aspect that drew Jones to the role was its uncanny relevance to today’s society. She says, “This is really a contemporary story about paranoia, fear of governments, and who we can trust.”

Harry Sims (Irrfan Khan, rt) in Columbia Pictures' INFERNO.

Irrfan Khan (right) stars as Harry Sims, Provost of the Command Risk Consortium.

A stylish mystery

Evolving from its predecessors, Inferno is the most visually stylistic film in the series so far, with a series of cryptic dream sequences that take audiences inside Langdon’s head and create an entirely different experience.

The movie is a worldwide adventure, taking Langdon, Dr Brooks and the audience from the roof of Basilica of San Marco in Venice to Istanbul. Recalling his journeys while filming, Hanks enthuses, “We have always gone to fascinating places, real places…. That is production value par excellence!”


Director: Ron Howard

Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy & Irrfan Khan

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Run length: 121 min

Release: 13 Oct