Dante Ki Maa Behen
Not 3 stars but not 2.5 stars either
Robert langdon is called upon again to save the world. And this is paint-by-numbers movie is made from a Dan Brown bestseller. As always there are literary clues, visits to museums and churches, ancient cities to explore, anagrams and women who betray. The only salvaging presence is that of Irrfan Khan, and he shows up too late. The endless walking towards clues has tired the audience out.
Robert Langdon is back. But this time he’s trying to figure out what is going on inside his head. The visions are horrific. But hold that thought. The nine circles of hell that Dante describes are fairly non-horrific. They are: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery. The punishments are milder than what Ron Howard offers.
Dante offers Milder Heaven for sinners in Limbo. Lustful people are punished by strong winds that blow them back and forth that they have no rest. If guilty of Gluttony, you lie down in vile slush forced by icy winds. Greedy sinners get to push great weights with their chests, angry people fight each other on the surface of the gurgling river Styx. Mild, what?
But it gets better. Heretics get to live in burning tombs. Violent people (three levels of punishments) get to drown in a boiling river of blood and fire, eaten by harpies and dogs, and reside in burning sand deserts with fire raining down upon them.
Then it’s back to something seemingly mild. Fraudsters get to reside with monsters under bridges, and you’d think hell would be hot, but the ninth circle of hell for treachery is icy cold rivers.
And the filmmakers should have used Google to better use. Because those suffering with pestilence and the plague masks seem very out of place if you have read the Divine Comedy. But you do get a thrill to see Dante’s death mask. The fun would have been had Langdon mentioned that the authenticity of the Kirkup mask we see in the movie is questionable. Again, a little more interest in the life of the poet on the part of the filmmakers would have helped.
And instead of moving the action to Istanbul and some mind-blowingly powerful germ that would decimate half the population, it would be fun to actually go to take the film where Dante lived in exile and actually make the super germ that would be infect people with an incurable Malaria (Dante died of Malaria).
But Irrfan Khan shows up and saves the day by his zinger dialog. Makes sitting through another tiresome wannabe high culture art suspense movie worth the while. In Irrfan Khan's style I'm sayin, 'Dante Ki Maa Behen Kyon Ki? No, don't answer that. It was rhetorical.'
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)