Famous symbologist on a trail of clues tied to the great Dante himself. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks, a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman from unleashing a global virus that would wipe out half of the world's population.
Robert Langdon is in Italy. He wakes up in a hospital with no memory of recent events. He appears to have suffered some head trauma. He's being treated by Dr. Sienna Brooks. Suddenly someone dressed as a policeman comes in and starts shooting, trying to get to Langdon. Brooks helps him. Langdon finds he received an email from a friend in Italy who told him that he too is being hunted, and he's gone into hiding with what they took. Of course he has no idea what he is talking about. He finds something in his belongings that reveals the Map of Hell which is inspired by Dante's Inferno. He learns about a man Bertrand Zobrist, a billionaire who believes the world is too overpopulated and that drastic measures are needed. He plans to release a virus which he created to kill most of the planet's population. Evidently he's inspired by Dante so Langdon needs to find out what he is planning, while he's being pursued by people from the World Health Organization, and one of them is someone he knows.
With all of its homophobes, suicide bombers and TV evangelists, who would ever want to end up in Heaven?
Which might be why the Harvard professor in this thriller is exploring the alternative.
Linguist lecturer Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes up in an Italian hospital with a bullet wound and memory loss. When the assassin (Ana Ularu) shows up to finish the job, a nurse (Felicity Jones) helps Langdon escape.
The pair later locates a coded painting of Dante's Inferno that they must decode in order to stop an overzealous biologist (Ben Foster) from releasing a doomsday virus.
The third entry in the religious text deciphering series, this installment maintains the globetrotting appeal but looses the pious intrigue in exchange for scattershot action scenes, a heavily altered ending and two hollow performances that border on ham-fisted.
Moreover, there is no God that approves of Langdon cavorting with a younger woman.
OK – OK – OK I read the book first, and once again I do not declare myself as some above-the-fray Dan Brown/Ron Howard/Tom Hanks critic. Alas, I am but a poor, humble fan. Were there differences between the book and movie? It's been so long ago I read the thing, I don't really remember enough of the written page to pinpoint anything - so forgive me in advance if I don't seem frustrated. Because my limited memory is pretty much shot, I will have to comment solely on the screen version. I lied, this next sentence I do make a vague reference to the book. In my opinion, the outstanding work, "The Lost Symbol" (like Jeffery Deaver's, 'The Blue Nowhere') needs to be made into a movie. There – not only did I get that out of my system, I also gave a plug for another awesome writer's story. And now to the movie: 'Inferno' was what I expect from Mr. Brown and Mr. Howard. High quality and a well weaved tale. Compared to its predecessors, the twists and turns might have lacked but when you have 'the superstar' Tom Hanks taking lead – faux pas are easily overlooked. As far as the plot goes, admittedly, I was not that intrigued - no matter what medium. But come on, this is a Robert Langdon movie rendering the movie unmissable. Tom Hanks is outstanding as always and so were those other people who were moving their mouths, running, waving their hands and...I guess...acting. The filming, and all that other stuff that goes along with it (lighting, CGI, musical score, etc ), are all worthy of the 'Dan Brown, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks Mark of Excellence'. The movie's final cut is a spine-tingling adventure of global proportions (a little over-the-top? meh). I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and recommend it. Final note: As previously mentioned I am really looking forward to, "The Lost Symbol" (and, "The Blue Nowhere").
Early promise proves misleading in a sequel that should be far better than The Da Vinci Code than it actually is.
Robert Langdon has similar 'visions from Hell' in the book, but the hallucinations include an unknown 'silver-haired woman'. She is later revealed to be Elizabeth Sinskey, head of the WHO; she is significantly older than Robert (old enough to be his mother), and he had only met her a few days before getting amnesia. In the movie, the woman in the hallucinations is initially cloaked, but Robert later recognizes her as Elizabeth. She is of Robert's age, and he has known her for years since they were once in a relationship.
Sienna is described as suffering from a metabolic disease in her youth that causes her hair to fall out; she always wears a blond wig as a result. Elizabeth Sinskey was also afflicted with a childhood disease, and its treatment has rendered her unable to have children. She has several flashbacks of a conversation with Zobrist, who visciously berates her and the WHO for their perceived lack of action with regards to controlling overpopulation. When he suggests that desperate measures are necessary, she takes his picture and puts him on the watchlist. The Consortium's Provost (called Mr. Sim in the film) has flashbacks of meeting Zobrist and sheltering him for a year, so that he could work in secret on his project while the WHO searched for him in vain. A gift from Zobrist during their last meeting (a personalized copy of Dante's Inferno) and Zobrist's suicide unsettle the Provost, causing him to think that Zobrist may be using the Consortium to release a world-wide plague.
The book is interspersed with flashbacks of Robert, remembering a lecture he once held about Dante and the Inferno novel. Most of the imagery that he used in the lecture (Botticelli's Map of Hell and several other Inferno-related artpieces) helps him (and the reader) find clues to Zobrist's riddles.
The WHO agents that arrive at Sienna's apartment are led by Christoph Brüder in the book (Christoph Bouchard in the movie). As Robert and Sienna flee, Robert notices the silver-haired woman being held in a WHO van, apparently drugged and held captive. They are being chased and fired upon by agents, but manage to escape, and enter the Boboli gardens. As they use the hallway leading into the Palazzo Museum, they find that the entrance is blocked by a guard station. Sienna has to mislead and take out the guard in order for them to proceed into the museum, showing that she is far from the fragile damsel in distress that she may appear to be.
Upon admitting that the WHO is now on Robert's trail and that she has lost him, Vayentha learns that she has been disavowed by the Consortium. In her desparation, she decides to go and search for him anyway. By chance, she picks up his trail again and chases him, hoping that the Consortium will take her back if she completes the mission to retrieve him. As a result, she is not trying to execute him in the book, even though Robert thinks that she is. In the movie, the provost gives her a direct order to terminate Robert, which she tries to do without success in the museum.
When learning that Robert and Ignazio were the ones who had stolen Dante's death mask, the guards call Ignazio's office, only to learn from his secretary that he has died of a heart attack the previous night. He was able to leave a voice mail message for Robert that points towards the mask's hiding place (in the movie, Robert had already received it by email). Robert tells the secretary to delete the message. They use the distraction of one of the drone cameras to escape.
Robert and Sienna try to flee the museum through the secret hallways, with Brüder and his team closely following them. Robert manages to shake them off by diverting them into a dead end. After Vayentha falls to her death, they escape to the streets, with Robert putting on Sienna's wig as disguise; with Sienna's bald head, they manage to pose as a rock star and a groupie, evading the police until they reach a small church. Robert borrows an old lady's iPhone to find the solution to Ignazio's riddle, and discovers it points to the Baptistry.
In the movie, Robert and Sienna find the mask at the baptistry and discover the hidden text on its back. They are found by Bouchard, who claims to have been the one who asked for Robert's help before he got amnesia. While on the train to Venice, Robert sees through Bouchard's ruse and incapacitates him. After deducing that Inferno must be in the Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Sienna betrays Robert and leaves him to be caught by Bouchard again. Bouchard reveals that he has gone rogue and intends to obtain Inferno in order to sell it. He is finally killed by the Provost, who explains how Sienna, Vayentha and the doctor shot in the hospital were all part of an elaborate deception to get Robert to cooperate, but Sienna has apparently used both Robert and the Consortium for her own agenda.
In the book, the sequence differs significantly: Robert and Sienna discover the mask in the bapistry, but find that there is are series of 7 Ps on the back of the forehead. Robert remembers that these symbolize the seven sins (peccatum in Latin), and in true Dante fashion, he discovers that by wiping them away in atonement, a secret text is revealed on the back of the mask. They are then approached by a man calling himself Jonathan Ferris. He has a nasty face rash which he claims comes from an allergy to soy-based soap, and a big black mark on his chest which he tries to hide. Ferris claims to have been the one who asked for Robert's help deciphering Zobrist's riddle. Although Robert doesn't recognize the man, he has 'familiar eyes'. Robert calls his publicist with a request to charter an airplane for him to Geneva; this ruse sends the WHO into a dead end, while Robert, Sienna and Ferris escape by train to Venice. An elaborate flashback leads the reader to believe that Ferris is actually agent FS-2080, a former lover and sympathizer of Zobrist who suggested the Consortium to him as a way of developing Inferno in secret; however, after learning Zobrist's intentions to develop a plague, FS-2080 wanted to prevent Inferno from being unleashed, and contacted the Consortium to offer assistance. In Venice, after discovering the identity of the 'treacherous doge', Robert finds out the target is Istanbul, not Venice. He finds that Ferris has collapsed, and notices the black mark, fearing that Ferris may already be infected with Inferno. Unfortunately, WHO soldiers seal the museum and Robert is apprehended by Brüder, but not before he helps Sienna escape through a window.
Robert is finally brought before Elizabeth Sinskey and the Provost. She wasn't held captive by the WHO as Robert thought; she was temporarily under the influence of medication to counter her vertigo. The WHO had raided Zobrist's safety deposit box a few days earlier, and found the projector. Sinskey was the one who contacted Robert and asked him for help in deciphering the riddle. However, the Consortium had an agreement with Zobrist to protect the projector, so they intervened after Robert and Ignazio had stolen the death mask. They kidnapped Robert, faked his head wound and amnesia and placed him in the hospital. Agent FS-2080 and Zobrist's secret lover is revealed to be Sienna, not Jonathan Ferris. She had agreed to help the Consortium in deceiving Robert so that he could solve Zobrist's riddle and find Inferno's location before the WHO could get their hands on it. The doctor killed by Vayentha in the hospital was another Consortium agent whose death was only faked. He is the same man who posed as Jonathan Ferris, with a rash that he got from wearing a fake beard and moustache; the black mark on his chest was from a squib explosion that broke his rib during his faked death. When Sienna learned of Inferno's hiding place, she disposed of Ferris by punching him in the chest (he is fine again, and not infected). Sienna is currently following her own agenda, which may be to ensure that Inferno is released. Sinskey and the Provost are now working together to stop that from happening.
The final act of the book is also very different from the movie: Sienna only contacts a fellow Zobrist sympathizer to get on a flight to Istanbul; she works alone while being there and doesn't obtain any explosives or henchmen. In the 'Sunken Palace', Robert finds out that the container with Inferno is missing; only the original tether remains. Sinskey finds no trace of anything lethal in the water. Robert spots Sienna and chases her, believing that she may have taken the container. After a lengthy chase where Sienna commandeers a boat, she unexpectedly returns to Robert and gives a tearful confession. The container with Inferno inside has already dissolved and the virus has been released for a week; the date mentioned in Zobrist's video wasn't the date that Inferno would be released, but the projected date where almost the entire world's population would be infected. Inferno is not a deadly plague that 'thins the herd': it is a virus that alters DNA and randomly renders one third of the population infertile, as Zobrist's ultimate device to stop the world's population from growing out of control. Sienna was actually trying to stop it from being obtained by the WHO, afraid that it might be abused to render only certain populations infertile.
The Provost is not killed during the final struggle: instead, he is being held by Sinskey to answer for his crimes. With the help of some Consortium agents, he escapes and attempts to flee in disguise, only to be arrested by Turkish government agents.
Sinskey realizes that Zobrist's virus is currently too sophisticated to stop. For now, the WHO has to accept the virus' effects, which may indeed turn out advantageous for the long term. Sinskey offers Sienna a place in the WHO, so that she may be able to help them understand how it works for a future cure.