This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Liz’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Just a few things this time around -
I've always had problems with how Inferno is plotted - the way that it, in sometimes near-Slacker fashion, constantly shifts from one protagonist to another, not really giving us a clear one until nearly an hour in.
There's a series of cutaways before the first murder sequence - a gloved killer creating and cutting the heads off of a string of paper dolls as a lizard eats a moth and a girl is hanged - that I'd previously just kind of brushed off, but I think they may be the key to the whole film. Whereas all of Argento's previous films are small in scale (and usually just focusing a proverbial 'stranger in a strange land'), Inferno feels huge. Its vision of witchcraft isn't limited to a dance academy in Germany - it's lurking in the shadows worldwide, from an apartment building in New York to a library in Rome. With that in mind, the numerous protagonists (nearly all of which get snuffed out when they learn too much) makes sense.
It's also kind of interesting that our ostensible protagonist, Mark, clearly part of a long line of Argento everymen who get themselves wrapped up in something they shouldn't, really only makes it through to the end because of his clumsiness and cowardice. The women in the film do all of the work - finding books, going into cellars, diving into strange pools of water, finding bloody handprints - while he's either unconscious or bumbling around. Unlike the David Hemmings character from Deep Red or any of the leads from the Animal trilogy, it's not until he has a literal fire under his ass in the climax he does any actual sleuthing work of his own. Even then, he doesn't confront the literal personification of Death head on - he just runs away.
(Also, yes, I realize that the movie doesn't make a whole lot of sense regardless, but, still)