Critic’s Corner: Inferno and Insecure

Inferno

“Humanity is the disease, inferno is the cure,” is one of the first lines spoken in Inferno, the latest installment in the Da Vinci Code films. The film series is based on novels by Dan Brown and this movie, although thrilling and fast- paced, has absolutely no depth and is incredibly predictable.

The story follows the famous symbologist (a fictional profession of somebody who essentially gets recruited to solve high-profile puzzles) Robert Langdon, who is played by Tom Hanks. The film begins when Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with no memory of the events that brought him there. The movie immediately begins with action, and carries through with this fast- paced tempo until the end. From the start, the goal is clear: stop a massive pathogen from being released that will kill half of the humans on earth.

From the beginning it’s incredibly easy to guess what happens, because why would a movie end with a plague killing everybody? That at least would have been a better ending, considering it would have been unique and unexpected.

Langdon teams up with Sienna Brooks, played by Felicity Jones. The intelligent doctor who is pretty much used as a backboard for Langdon to bounce his theories off of for half of the movie and a naïve, lovesick woman as the film progresses. Brooks’ character was boiled down to a pretty, quirky genius that decides she wants to kill billions of people because her boyfriend told her to. This is fitting because of course an incredibly intelligent, successful woman would whimsically fall in love and then lose her ability to think independently, right?

The sole other crucial woman in the film is the romantic interest of Langdon. The romance between Langdon and Elizabeth Sinskey, played by Sidse Babett Knudsen, began way too late in the game to enthrall the viewer. The exchanges between the pair were very vague and inconclusive, and there was no chemistry.

The film Inferno was a disappointment compared to the earlier movies in the series. Tom Hanks, who can do no wrong, played the only well-executed role in the film, but perhaps tht’s because his character had two other movies to be developed in. The movie was one of  “those” thrillers, predictable and shallow but fast paced and action packed, just simply not great at all.

Insecure

Issa Rae offers a completely unique and fresh look into the hilariously awkward world of being a young woman in her new HBO series, Insecure.

The show focuses on Issa Dee’s life as a young black woman living in Los Angeles as she and her best friend, Molly, played by Yvonne Orji, struggle with issues at work, complicated romantic relationships, and friendship. Issa works to reevaluate her life with her long-time partner, Lawrence, and Molly strives to find love that meets her high standards.

The show succeeds in using humor as a way to talk about important issues regarding race in daily life. In particular, Issa and Molly are met with marginalizing experiences at work. In one episode Molly is asked to speak with the one other black woman in her office because her employers feel like she is not “adapting to the culture” of the workplace. In this episode, the show faces the concept of code switching and faces it head on with honesty and humor.

Women from all different backgrounds can connect with the show. I am not a woman of color, but I feel like the show speaks to me on a personal level. The humor is refreshing in its total honesty about how complicated, confusing, and weird life is.

With a cast composed primarily of people of color, Insecure could be a game changer, considering major networks like HBO rarely have full television series devoted to addressing serious issues of race. Hopefully Insecure can pave the way for future shows to get audiences thinking and talking about everyday issues of marginalization.

Insecure airs every Sunday on HBO.

Tess may be reached at
towen@su-spectator.com

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