Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” novels come movies have received mixed reviews. Largely, these reviews have been geography dependant with the UK and Ireland being extremely hard on Brown.
I went along to Inferno, Brown’s latest movie adaption, external opinion free, to formulate my own opinion.
What is Inferno about?
In short, the movie concerns itself with the over-population of earth. Our population has grown exponentially in the twentieth century from 1.6 billion to 6.9 billion. Bertrand Zobrist, a billionaire scientist is determined to cull the earth’s population. Tom Hanks plays Robert Langdon, a “symbologist” who has an uncanny ability to get caught up in changing the history of the world before it happens. The Harvard lecturer begins the movie hallucinating in bed while suffering from a head injury. Soon after he’s running for his life, while also attempting to stop the spread of the Zobrist’s Inferno virus.
Is Inferno any good?
Dan Brown’s work has always walked a tightrope between reality and fiction. Fans of the series will remember CERN from Angels and Demons and Opus Dei from The Da Vinci Code as being examples of this tightrope. The already blurred lines between fact and fiction are not helped by Langdon’s condition. Amnesia and hallucinations mean you can’t really trust what you see from his perspective. The flashbacks he suffers are disturbing, which is unsurprising considering they are inspired by Dante’s Inferno.
Inferno is gripping because of these blurred lines between reality and fiction. I wanted to break cinema rules and Google earth’s population growth over the twentieth century. I waited until I got home, but sure enough, there’s a lot of truth behind Brown’s novel come movie.
With the believable fact of the earth’s overpopulation at the core of the story, Brown married together this present day truth with the classical poetry of Dante. His epic poem, Inferno, was supposed to be a depiction of hell, but the movie of the same name instead uses the poem as a prophecy for what is to come – because of overpopulation. Which, personally, I enjoyed – but I’m by no means the norm in these parts.
Why does Dan Brown’s work get slated?
In a recent BBC interview, Brown jested that his work always got a kicking in the UK, while it’s much better received in the US. Ireland would appear to follow suit in terms of critical analysis, with the Irish Times slating the latest movie adaption. Brown would appear to be a victim of his own success within pockets of Europe.
So far, I’ve enjoyed Brown’s work – including Inferno. Sure, bits and pieces are far-fetched, but so are Star Trek and Star Wars. Critics appear to be uncomfortable with the blurred lines between reality and fiction. Generally, it just appears to be the huge success of Brown’s work that makes it cool to slate it.
Largely, I found Inferno to be somewhat intelligent, thought-provoking and even funny in parts, thanks largely to the fantastic character played by Irrfan Khan.
Inferno: The verdict
Ignore the critics. If the critics were to be believed, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas wouldn’t be watched by anyone. The Boondock Saints would be locked away in the basement of an old Xtravision store in Roscommon. We’re not critics. We’re moviegoers, and we pay for our cinema trips which means we get angry if the movie is terrible. Walking out of Inferno, I just wanted to Google the population growth rate of the twentieth century. I was very happy with the two-hour journey I experienced. The only other thing I wanted to do was replicate Robert Langdon’s watch on my Huawei Watch. It was a successful night all round.