Mystery thriller burns up

Despite a strong cast and experienced director, “Inferno” continues the downwards spiral in quality characteristic of recent films following a similar formula.

Tom Hanks returns as Professor Robert Langdon in the film adapted from Dan Brown’s most recent novel. Like “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons,” the story revolves around protagonist Robert Langdon solving a mystery based on clues embedded in classic art and literature.

Highly formulaic, “Inferno’s” story structure, themes, and events match those of its two predecessors, each movie feels like the same story.

If nothing else, “Inferno” is an average thriller, with the right amount of action and mystery to earn it a place on FX in a few years. It’s a great movie to watch while cleaning the apartment or cooking dinner, but lacks anything to warrant remembrance.

In this sense, film adaptations of Dan Brown’s books match their source material. While Brown’s books sell like crazy, they are best suited for reading on a beach or an airplane.

There is nothing particularly interesting in “Inferno’s” score or cinematography. However, the beautiful on location shooting adds a nice aesthetic value. Historical sites ranging from the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to the Duomo cathedral in Florence present pleasing visuals, and the focus on paintings and art add much needed substance.

“Inferno” earned $147.7 million in the box office on its opening weekend, against a budget of $75 million.

The movie has been met with mostly negative responses. Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 20 percent, with 43 percent of the audience reporting that they liked it. It appears that even experienced director Ron Howard  and Tom Hanks were  unable to woo audiences with a shallow and overcomplicated story.