A fictionalized account of the last days of Edgar Allan Poe's life, in which the poet is in pursuit of a serial killer whose murders mirror those in the writer's stories.
Elementary my dear Edgar. The Raven is directed by James McTeigue and written by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare. It stars John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve and Brendan Gleeson. Music is by Lucas Vidal and cinematography by Danny Ruhlmann. "On October 7, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe was found, near death, on a park bench in Baltimore, Maryland. The last days of his life remain a mystery" It's a real smart idea that the makers have here, putting their own theory forward on what happened in the lead up to Poe's death. Essentially a period whodunit procedural as Poe (Cusack) and Inspector Emmett Fields (Evans) race against time to find the person who is killing in the style of Poe's literary works. Poe's love interest, Emily Hamilton (Eve), is in grave danger, so as to add extra peril and suspense into the clock ticking drama. It's a safe piece of entertainment, one that acquaints the uninitiated with Poe's work and his life struggles away from the writing bureau. The detective angle is fun and the murders grizzly and appropriately Gothic in execution. Unfortunately it rarely convinces as a period piece. The dialogue is often out of sync with the era, Eve is miscast, the score is inappropriate and it always feels like actors playing at period rompery. It's a shame that it is bogged down by such irritants because Teague's direction is stylish, while the art design deserves a round of applause. Cusack is fun to watch, but more at ease playing Sherlock in the second half of the piece than a tortured soul in the first, and Evans is confident in the straight backed gentleman detective stakes. There's a good time to be had here on a surface whodunit follow the clues experience, and Poe fans will delight at catching the many references to his life and spiky works, but it unfortunately misses the mark in too many key areas. 6/10
I just happened to find this movie in the program listings yesterday. Movies based on Edgar Allan Poe can be a bit hit or miss but I like quite a few of his works so I decided to give this one a try. I have to say that it is surprisingly good. The Victorian era setting together with the rather dark plot and atmosphere makes for a very enjoyable old times thriller. The movie is based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe but not in the usual way that one would think when one says based on. Instead the story in this movie is a new story spun around Edgar Allan Poe as a person where his work is used by the evil mastermind in that the various stories are re-enacted in real life…with deadly results. I, for obvious reasons, have no idea how Edgar Allan Poe was as a person and I did not really have any pre-conceived opinions before watching this movie either. I can imagine that he, as a poet and writer of rather grisly stories, might have been a wee bit excentric though so to me John Cusack’s performance as the rather excentric, somewhat alcoholic and sometimes almost insane but still brilliant Edgar Allan Poe was a very good one. Not that the rest of the actors are below par by any means. The story, if you take it apart and remove the parts taken from Poe’s original works, is not really something to jump up and down over. However, put it together with the bits and pieces from Poe, add the characterization of Poe by Cusack, the dark Victorian ambiance and generally well implemented cinematics and you have a movie that is, as I wrote above, surprisingly good.