With a movie all about the works of Edgar Allan Poe, the hack writer in
me is extremely tempted to go for the obvious puns and jokes. However,
I promise, I swear, I assure you I will not make any Nevermore puns in
this review. This could be the biggest challenge of my life.
John Cusack stars as Edgar Allan Poe - the massively talented and
tormented writer who has found himself madly in love with Emily (Alice
Eve). In what we know to be the final, wretched days of Poe's life, a
mysterious madman has started murdering people in Baltimore by
following the same circumstances and methods as those employed in the
legendary writer's stories.
After kidnapping the fair Emily, this murderous fiend has challenged
Poe to find him, and forces him to write stories based on the
cat-and-mouse game between them, or else Emily is done for.
Can Poe and the Baltimore police find the killer?
Who is the killer?
The Raven had great potential to be amazing,
but the movie doesn't quite hit the highs of The Tell-Tale Heart
or The Masque of the Red Death. It doesn't even hit the highs
of The Iron Lady.
However, you are treated to John Cusack's fantastic performance.
Without him, you would be sneaking out the theater's back door and
trying to slip into another showing of The Hunger Games (just
make sure you don't accidentally sneak into The Three Stooges,
it's dark in those hallways, and the shock of catching The Three
Stooges could harm you more than the victim in a Poe tale).
Cusack adds a great edge that helps make the goriness and the macabre
of The Raven feel perfect and thrilling, instead of gross for
gross's sake. He creates Poe to have the rage, anger, disappointment,
frustration, pain, loss and regret that makes a character so
fascinating you want to see more, hear more and watch more of him no
matter what else is happening on the screen or with the story. Cusack
takes a 19th Century author and makes him into a bombastic, mesmerizing
21st Century anti-hero.
Writers Ben Livingston and Hannah "This Name Has To Be Made Up"
Shakespeare make sure The Raven is a treat for Poe fans (Poe
Toasters?) by incorporating his writing in ways that will make the
dedicated jump for joy, but the rest of the uninitiated need more and
better explanations. As the movie progresses, Poe and the characters
often make very brief references to the work being exploited by the
killer without enough detail to clue the rest of us in on the
importance or significance.
After a while, the audience needs some new twist or two to keep our
interest as The Raven becomes a bit repetitive and doesn't
maintain the pace of the earlier acts, even though we do get a great
twist at the end.
The Raven is rated R for bloody violence and