"Dante's Inferno" is a subversive and darkly satirical realization of the original which was written in the14th century. It is not regular movie fare--it is presented with the use of intricate paper puppets and miniature sets. We are taken on a travelogue of Hell and it looks a lot like the way we live today. Dermot Mulroney is the voice of Dante and he awakens to find he is lost in a strange part of town, both in reality and in metaphor. James Cromwell is the voice of Virgil, the ancient Roman poet and he has a mullet haircut. Dante follows Virgil through the depths of Hell and they enter the very underbelly of the inferno which very much resembles modern urban life. We see slums and used car lots, strip malls and gated communities (it kind of looks like Little Rock, Arkansas until we see the U.S. Capitol Building). There are politicians and popes and icons of pop culture and they are all sentenced to cruel and unusual punishments. Lucifer is nothing more than a human appetizer dipped in fondue. The punishment that all receive fits the crime of which each is guilty. Dante, as he spirals through all nine stages of hell, realizes the method of punishment. He comes out of his journey determined to change the course of life he has been on. The director, Simon Birk, gives us an amazing modernization of a classic and he seems to fear nothing. He is innovative and creative and his humor, while at times sardonic, is wonderful. You must remember that this is not the inferno as Dante wrote it and Birk seems to use a combination of Monty Python and Mike Judge to come to his black humor. The animation is amazing and the use of puppets is stunning and the sets are impressive. The script is ripped from the headlines of today's press. This is a message movie and to deliver what it wants to say it uses very heavy commentary. There are plenty of laughs and here is astoundingly good entertainment. (Of course if you have read the original the film is that much more entertaining).
Dante Alighieri's `Divine Comedy' is filled with vivid imagery and flowing poetry. It is one of the most celebrated pieces of literature of all time. It doesn't need many more translations. New ones are welcome, but it has been improved upon for the English reader time and time again. On the other hand, `Dante's "Inferno,"' the movie, takes many modern contexts and puts a new spin on the timeless classic. Based on Marcus Doug Harvey, Sandow Birk, and Marcus Sanders' adaptation, … more