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Inferno by Hans Zimmer (Review)

posted Oct 25, 2016, 4:31 PM by Kaya Savas

Ron Howard’s adaptions of the popular Dan Brown novels continue with Inferno and sees him re-teaming with Hans Zimmer for hopefully the last entry to this franchise as the film struggles to find the energy and melodramatic appeal of the first two. The Robert Langdon chronicles have always been popcorn entertainment, but unfortunately the films have sort have been stripped away of more and more character and emotion as they went along. The Da Vinci Code was overstuffed with way too much plot and backstory, Angels & Demons seemed to find the right balance to be a brisk yet filling thriller, and now with Inferno we literally just jump into it and it’s over before you know it. Hans tried his best to add that energy back to a hollow thriller, but unfortunately the score fails to elicit the magic and mystery of what has come before.

Inferno’s plot is simple and lean. A mad geneticist crafted essentially a new plague virus to wipe out most of the Earth’s population. Langdon wakes up in a hospital with amnesia and teams up with one of his doctors as an assassin shows up to kill them. Fast forward to a predictable twist pretty much copied from the first 2 films, and a bunch of Tom Hanks running around following clues based off of Dante’s Inferno and ta da you have yourself The Langdon Identity.

Hans’ score goes for the full-blown electronic route similar to how he approached Chappie. This was a compromise though as Zimmer had plans for a big chorus-based sound but the budget didn’t allow for it. So in an effort to infuse this “psychological thriller” as they dub it, Hans went synthetic, and there's nothing wrong with that. The score echoes some familiar motifs from the past and actually ends in a very impressive arrangement of “Chevaliers de Sangreal”. The journey to the end aims to highlight the darkness and hellish nature being explored here. The score at times ditches ear-pleasing melody for more harsh and abrasive sounds meant to irritate and dig under your skin a bit, and it works for the most part. Langdon's character does have some visually striking visions in the film, and it definitely compliments that dark side of the story. The music’s main goal was definitely to add a harsh and dark edge and add excitement. And in the end it succeeds just as a serviceable score to a mediocre film.

Inferno is no Zimmer masterpiece, but it’s entertaining and adds a good amount of energy to a film that lacks energy and momentum on its own. Nothing is captivating or truly thrilling, but getting to hear some of those past themes in a synthetic soundscape added something different that wasn’t there before. If you’re expecting this score as a continued evolution of the past two then you might be disappointed. Again, the movie this score is trying to breathe life into is a dull one, so props to Hans for trying something truly against the grain even if it doesn’t work at times with the picture. At least it’s a pretty cool journey on its own away from the film. It shows that even at his age and career status, Hans isn’t afraid to go the different route and isn't afraid to fail.