- User Rating: Excellent
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Cusack, Evans, Eve and Gleeson plus the cinematography, art and costuming
The Bottom Line: I do recommend the film but warn that it is too gruesome for young children or people who cannot handle violence.
The premise of "The Raven" is fairly simple: a serial killer is murdering people the same way folks are killed in Edgar Allan Poe's books and stories. I knew that much going in but had heard or read very little about the film. Although the film did not do well at the box office last weekend, I thought the movie was an above average mystery/horror tale.
Before we learn that a serial killer exists, we meet a depressed, financially ruined Edgar Allan Poe as he tries to keep his career afloat by writing criticisms for the Baltimore Times newspaper. Poe (John Cusack-"Being John Malkovich", "High Fidelity") appears to be both an alcoholic and a drug addict and even his old friend at the Times will print his recent articles. Early in the film, Poe is approached by Detective Fields (Luke Evans-"Immortals", "The Three Musketeers") about a double murder that was committed identically to Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue".
Poe is asked to consult on the murder but he is also considered a suspect. As he tries to help the detective, another grisly murder occurs. A rival critic of Poe's on the Times, Mr. Griswold (John Warnaby) is murdered in exactly the same way as the victim in Poe's gruesome, "The Pit and the Pendulum".
The only bright light in Poe's life is the lovely, much younger lady, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve-"She's Out of My League") who obviously loves Poe with all his faults. The problem for Poe and Emily is that her father, the wealthy Captain Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson-"Troy", "Gangs of New York") literally hates the poet/writer.
I'll stop there with the plot discussion except to say that Emily herself becomes the victim of the serial killer who dares Poe and Evans to save her before her own gruesome ending.
WHY I LIKED THE FILM
While I certainly enjoyed the acting by Cusack, Evans and Eve, the overall "look" of this film gave it an excellent dark realism. Director James McTeigue ("V for Vendetta") seems to excel in such dark films and he was helped by the mostly serious screenplay by first time movie writer Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare (who has written mostly television movies and shows).
It is odd for me to praise the cinematography, art department and costume department but those elements to provide a perfect "dark" quality that literally exudes from the screen from beginning to end. The music score by Lucas Vidal ("Sleep Tight") is also excelent.
My one complaint is that Cusack's Poe, although supposedbly a hopeless addict, manages to perform daring actions in attempting to find the killer. That's a fairly minor problem for the film which delivers the kinds of dark feelings that Mr. Poe excelled in with his writing.
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Movie Mood: Scary Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing