Wednesday, October 17, 2012
JohnnyTwoToes finds this tell tale thriller disappointing!
If you have ever read any of Edgar Allan Poe's writings, you would agree that he was a gifted writer of the morose and the macabre. I have found only H.P. Lovecraft's writings to be more darkly demonic that Poe's. Poe at least enjoyed some of what life had to offer; the love of a woman and booze. Plenty and plenty of booze.
As the film, The Raven opens we are told that Poe's last three days alive were sketchy at best and no one seems to know how his death came about on October 7, 1849. All we are told is that he was something of a sleuth assisting the local police in finding a serial killer using Poe's own writing to commit murder. This movie expands on that premise!
John Cusack plays Poe and for the most part he does the best he can. But I could not help to wonder if maybe he was miscast. He certainly LOOKS like Poe, but there seemed to be something missing for me to really buy Cusack as the tortured writer. John Cusack is a fine actor and one of my favorites. I think the script written by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare is so scatter-shot that after a while I began to piece together the mystery and had figured out who the killer was about halfway into the film.
There is a strong cast to support Cusack though. They include the awesome Brendan Gleeson as the father of Poe's fiance, Emily who is taken by the killer. Alice Eve plays Emily and she is decent enough but, again it seems that the script is underwritten in its character so that everyone seems to be trying too hard to sell the story.
I found myself wanting to go back and watch Murder By Decree. A great film about Jack The Ripper and Sherlock Holmes with Christopher Plummer as Holmes. The Raven only made me want to watch other films that were better.
Is then The Raven a bad film? No but it is a lifeless one as uninteresting characters plod through a muddled serial killer plot we have seen done before and better. Director James McTeigue has some moments where the film works particularly when Luke Evans as Detective Fields is on screen. Fields seems to like Poe, regardless of Poe's nonsense. Poe spends most of the film broke and blathering about, yet Fields seems to understand Poe's problems and sympathizes with him. But, overall I was disappointed with The Raven. At the film's end we know nothing more about Poe and his brilliance other than what we have been spoon fed in literature class. The Raven-** out of 4.