(Coming Soon) - Dante's Hell (2020) - Reviewed

The odyssey of the Inferno is one of the most adored, critically explored, and religiously important texts in the history of the human race.  Boris Acosta's directorial debut feature, Inferno By Dante is a sulfurous mixture, blending its creator's passion for the subject matter with a unique visual presentation.  An artistic documentary of soul, Inferno is a revelatory exploration of not only the written word, but on the divine mysteries that are woven into the fabric of mankind.  

In the middle of his life, Dante enters Hell and is guided by the spirit of Roman poet Virgil.  The journey, and all its perils not only reinforces Dante's faith in the divine, it ruminates on the nature of sin and the light and darkness inherent within the heart.  Featuring dozens of original paintings from artist Dino Di Durante, clips from two of Acosta’s short films (Dante’s Hell Animated and Inferno Dantesco Animato), clips from the 1911 Italian film L'Inferno, and engaging narration and interpretation from a cast of talented actors and wizened scholars, Inferno transcends the typical documentary experience.  Filled with gorgeous compositions and horrific implications, there is also a soulful undercurrent that persists throughout, a reflexive side effect of Acosta's unabashed passion for the subject matter.  The handcrafted and rapid editing may be unnerving at first, but as the viewer becomes accustomed to the unique presentation, the purpose of Acosta's artistry becomes clear.  This is a love letter to one of the most important works of literature ever created, but also a resplendent celebration of the power of faith. 

The cast is a veritable who’s who of character actors.  Screen icon Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Martin Kove (Karate Kid), Al Sapienza (The Sopranos), Nia Peeples (Pretty Little Liars), Jeff Conaway (Grease), Franco Nero (Django Unchained), Armand Mastroianni (The Celestine Prophecy), Adrian Paul (Highlander), Diane Salinger (Carnivale), and dozens of other actors, professors and experts appear throughout, either narrating certain sequences or sharing their interpretations.  The result is a fusing of art and religion, and it is refreshing to see so many people from various walks of life coming together to share their thoughts in a candid, but delicate presentation.  Perhaps the strongest attribute is that all the participates have a love for Dante's work so profound that it pervades every aspect of the movie.  

Coming hopefully soon to theaters and digital on demand, Inferno by Dante is a refreshing departure within the documentary genre.  A touching tribute to Dante Alighieri's incomparable masterpiece, this is an essential viewing for religious scholars and anyone with an interest in exploring how such a work impacts the soul.  With beautiful artwork and a carefully constructed presentation, Inferno shows that with dedication and understanding, even hell itself cannot stop the power of love that exists within all of us.

--Kyle Jonathan