Movie Review: The Raven (2012)

Posted: December 15, 2012 in Drama



Edgar Allen Poe (John Cusack) is down on his luck.  He can’t even afford a drink at the local bar.  He has published all of his most famous poems, and now is going through a period of writer’s block.  He wants a job as a critic of other writers, but can’t even get that job at the local Baltimore newspaper.  The only good thing Poe has going for him is a relationship with poet Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve) but her father Captain Henderson (Brendan Gleeson) won’t let Poe marry his beautiful daughter.  As if Poe’s life wasn’t bad enough, a serial killer is killing women based on Poe’s poems.  Detective Fields (Luke Evans) of the Baltimore police department enlists Poe to try to find the killer and stop the killings.  To raise the stakes on Poe, the killer kidnaps Emily, and tells Poe he plans to kill her.  Does Detective Fields track down the killer with Poe’s help?  Are they able to find and save Emily?

This is a very stylized and fictionalized story based on the writings of Edgar Allen Poe and the effect his poems may have had on a crazed killer.  It’s interesting that the poems are used as a possible motivation for the murders, and a way to solve the crimes as well. This movie works best as a suspense movie, when it deviates from a suspenseful film into a bloody slasher movie, then it is not nearly as good.  And once the whodunit aspect is resolved, the movie limps to a finish. The actors also seem to forget that this should be a period piece, and start delivering lines with a definite 2012 feel, instead of the mid 1880’s.  For example, detective Fields refers to Poe as “Eddie” I really don’t think Edgar Allen Poe was ever referred to as Eddie in the 1800’s.  it is John Cusack’s boisterous performance as Poe that saves this movie from being utterly boring.  He drinks, he yells at bar patrons for not knowing who he is, he imbues his character and the movie with some much needed life, which is more than can be said for the other actors.  Alice Eve looks and sounds like Jessica Simpson, she is a pretty face nothing more.  Luke Evans tries very hard to sound like a young Clint Eastwood and Brendan Gleeson looks and sounds like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, so there’s not a lot of support for Cusack in the supporting cast.

The Raven.  Flies high, for a while and then nevermore.


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