“There’s a switch. If you throw it, half the people on Earth will die, but if you don’t in a hundred years the human race will be extinct.” These gloomy words is the first thing you hear at the start of the latest collaboration between multi Oscar winner Tom Hanks and Oscar winning director, Ron Howard, based on the best selling series of novels from Dan Brown.

Robert Langdon (Hanks) wakes up in a hospital with no memory of how he got there. He barely has time to consult with the on-duty physician, Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) when someone shows up and attempts to kill him and anyone else in the way. Langdon and Brooks find themselves on the run and discover a large number of people are after them. Langdon’s memory only comes back in pieces, but he soon discovers he is on the trail of a madman’s plot to release a disease inspired by Dante’s Inferno. It’s a race against the clock, but should Langdon actually stop the threat?

This is the third movie in the Langdon series made by Hanks and Howard and it is the best one of the series. Like the others, it doesn’t waste any time getting the story started and moving at a fast pace. This outing really lets the audience share the experience right along with Langdon because he has no idea of what is going on and neither do we. Not only does he have to solve the puzzles to help stop this new threat, he must also solve the loss of his memory. This adds an extra element to the storytelling the other movies did not have and keeps us hooked throughout.

This is by far Ron Howard’s best directed movie in the last decade, thanks, in part, to the excellent screenplay adaptation by David Koepp. It’s a great mystery with a lot of tension, suspense and a few surprises thrown in for good measure. The fact that Langdon doesn’t know what is a hallucination or what is real and that he can’t trust his memory keeps us guessing to the end.

If there is a complaint, it is that it does share a few plot points with The Da Vinci Code. Someone let’s themselves die right at the beginning and there is even a Albino Monk type character in this story. However, since there has not been a real good movie in the theaters of late, these little drawbacks can be overlooked.

3 Swords