The Crow (1994)
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The story is a basically about revenge from beyond the grave, and how true love is forever. The movie has a good (but fairly basic) plot, excellent action sequences, and very good casting. Brandon Lee gives a good performance (not excellent, but good), as does Ernie Hudson. The supporting villains are excellent in their villainy, and you do feel better when they get it in the end. But the real star of this film is the mood and the feel. It feels gritty, bleak, and depressing, but surprisingly uplifting at the end. Alex Proyas did an excellent job of transferring this feeling from the book onto celluloid. All in all, one of the best comic book to film translations I have ever seen.
You do not have to be familiar with the comic book to thoroughly enjoy this film (like you do with some other comic book adaptations).
Rating : 4.5 out of 5
Basically, it's about a rock star named Eric Draven, his fiancée Shelley Webster and the little girl they take care of, Sarah. When a ruthless gang of thugs viciously murder both Eric and Shelley on the night before their wedding, Eric comes back from the grave to avenge his fiancée's death by going after each member of the gang that killed her, and to say a final goodbye to Sarah.
An extremely moving film that I would recommend to anyone who has a heart.
On October 30th, a night that has come to be known as "Devil's Night," in reference to the hundreds of fires set by dangerous gangs, Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas) are brutally attacked in their downtown apartment. Shelly is raped by the gang and Eric is thrown out of a five-story window, dying almost instantly. They leave behind a close friend and younger-sister figure, Sarah (Rochelle Davis), endless rainy nights in the city, and infinite sorrow on those who knew them.
Their deaths left a score unsettled, and as a result, an ancient legend becomes reality, as a mystical crow descends from the Heavens who normally carries souls to the land of the dead, brings Eric Draven's soul back to life so he can exact revenge on the men who killed him and his fiance. He dresses himself in torn black clothing, boots, and paints his face like a sad clown. He is invincible, for he is already dead, and sets out on a quest for retribution, seeking out each one of his murderers one by one. He is helped along the way by two people, Sarah and Officer Albrecht (Ernie Hudson), who stayed with Shelly until she died, against an army of arsonist gangsters led by the mysteriously incestuous Top Dollar (Michael Wincott), who is the orchestrator of Devil's Night, and inspires his troops with quotes and dialogue from Dante's "Inferno" and "Paradise Lost." With the crow leading the way, Eric Draven sets out to redeem his soul and regain his justice in a city that has never stopped raining since his death.
From its opening shot right to its final seconds, "The Crow" is a depressingly gripping film. A truly fantastic and faithful adaptation of James O'Barr's comic book series, this film draws its inspiration from both the comic book and earlier films such as Fritz Lang's "Metropolis." The story is set against the backdrop of a broken city ruled by an underground society of arsonists, where the police can do nothing to stop them and the children run wild in the streets. The buildings tower high over the urban streets, overlooking a sad foundation without law, justice or order - you know everything about this world with one shot. The production design and cinematography combines to create an atmosphere in a society without hope, accentuated only further by a Middle-East inspired score by Graeme Revell, and choicy tunes by Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.
Director Alex Proyas claims he has never seen a sequel to his film on the basis that no one could do justice to the main character like Brandon Lee... I agree with him. Lee's performance as the vengeful soul is one of the greatest I have ever seen on film. He exhibits confidence, cunning and menace, while at the same time communicating just enough pain and depression to stay true to his character. You know what he's capable of, and at the same time his emotional weaknesses. If I can think of any flaw to this film I would mention the incestuous relationship between Funboy and his sister. It was not a subplot, thankfully, but it didn't seem necessary in a film that was already disturbing enough.
Made with passion, performed with intensity, designed with precision and influence, "The Crow" is an unheralded masterpiece of the 20th Century. It is heartbreaking to think that this film almost dodged release - if that had happened, no one would ever have known the degree of Brandon Lee's acting capabilities. The man had a fiery presence and was articulate and powerful with his delivery - indeed, with one great film, he has become a martyr for the exposition of this character. 4 1/2 stars on a five star scale.
I am no Goth, have never read the original comic strip, nor do I wish to. I simply regret watching the unspeakably pathetic and inappropriate sequels...do not make the same mistake!
For all its grotesque violence, seediness and Gothic degeneracy, THE CROW is a pure love story, so pure, that even immersed within the blackest of adult fairy-tales its power cannot be dampened or lessened. Eric Draven's spiritual pursuit of those who murdered his beautiful girlfriend is less of a revenge story and more a reminder that karma balances out in the end.
Perhaps the best performance, other than that of the crow itself, is from Michael Wincott, a very underrated actor, as the incarnately evil gang leader. It is the role of a lifetime for him.
If I were in a position that I could see only two films again for the rest of my life, they would be 2001 and THE CROW. At no stage would I ever subsequently be able to say that I had seen EVERYTHING that either had to offer.
The question still taps away at all our doors, namely would the film be the cult classic it became without the Brandon Lee tragedy? That's a tricky one to answer because we all deep down have a morbid curiosity about us, especially with films and their stars. This is why I got a lot more from re-watching the movie after a very long period of time, namely that it may have drew many of us in years ago because of the tragedy and heart aching back story to writer James O'Barr's birthing of Eric Draven the character, but it can now enthral, thrill and shatter emotions of its own accord.
The Gothic art design and the soundtrack are emo personified before such a label was invented, Lee is lithe and skillful and serving notice to what a talent we were robbed of that fateful day in March 1993. The villains are a roll call of go to guys for such roles, Kelly, Wincott, Todd, while Ernie Hudson fronts up as good cop personified. And finally Proyas, struggling with the budget even before Brandon's death, that he manages to create this world of perpetual bleakness, but still offer hope and beauty - the latter via tracking shots, pull aways and intricate frame shots of a tormented Draven, shows him to be a purveyor of considerable skills.
All told, The Crow (1994) deserves to not be thought of as a cult classic, but just as a classic, period. 9.5/10
This has such bad and unconvincing acting, especially by the star of the film, Brandon Lee. A movie with a poorly executed story is made even harder to watch when the star of the movie couldn't act his way out of a house with no walls (therefore no roof, think about it). His wife got raped and killed, what is he supposed to be, angry or campy? Why is he making jokes as he toys with his victims? This is like a damn cartoon for 10 year olds. If the movie didn't take itself so seriously, then I wouldn't mind that performance choice so much. Everything from the script and the dialog was formulaic. How can anyone think this is a great movie? It's not 100% horrible, but it ain't Spider-Man, it's Elektra, enough said.
Sporting a skin type black ninja outfit, make up only Kiss would be proud of and Edgar Allen Poe's Raven's wimpier cousin 'The Crow', Draven (Brandon Lee's final performance) deals out painful revenge upon those that murdered him and his girlfriend one year ago. The plot plays out exactly as you would expect for a nineties revenge flik except rather than Harry Tasker kicking ass and taking names we observe Edward Scissorhands on drugs slaughtering all opposition.
Its a good laugh if you want a harmless revenge film with little more than the necessary amount of substance than the dry script requires, or you may enjoy it if you are aged between 12-17 and haven't found your niche in life yet. Rest assured teens, The Crow will answer none of your questions but will only fill you with new ones such as:
Wouldn't it have been nice if poor Eric Draven had only stayed dead?
Alone, Draven takes on the entire criminal organization of crime lord Top Dollar, whose gang killed him once. And it is easy, since Draven is already dead and can't be hurt. He is indestructible and invincible. Until Top Dollar figures out that it is the raven that gives Draven his superhuman powers.
Not a very entertaining story, since it doesn't get any suspense until the final ten minutes, and barely then either. Draven, with his powers, is simply to powerful. There is no threat to him. What it is is an action packed dark story. The scenery is very dark, it is always raining and the Gothic influence is heavy. Visually it is interesting, but not very good either.
Had Draven been vulnerable somehow, this could have been really good. Now, ironically, it is mostly known and interesting since lead actor Brandon Lee died in an accident while filming it. Had the accident never occurred, I believe this movie would have been forgotten long ago.
I feel that it is a movie one should have seen. But it wasn't very memorable, unfortunately.
What it is: a comic-genre film - and like most film versions of dark comics, it is enslaved to rain and shadows, candlelight and eyeliner aesthetics, pseudo-intellectualism and faux-poetic moments. It suffers greatly from an unbelievable premise (murderous super bad guys run wild in the streets, doing their will) and mind-numbingly dense dialog.
I watched this movie just recently for the first time - and had to check all the background material on it because I just couldn't believe it was actually shot in the nineties - it is an eighties movie in every way shape and form, hearkening back to the days of the early Cure, Bauhaus, Souxsie and the Banshees, etc.
The acting is flat all around (Brandon Lee spends the entire movie with his chin on his chest, glaring menacingly from underneath his furrowed brow) and what little there is of character is two-dimensional - a comic book view of the world, juvenile and meaningless, trying desperately to be "deep".
If Brandon Lee hadn't died during production, this film would be regarded as nothing more than an amusing goth fantasy - and not the goth cult classic it seems to have become. I guess I understand some people's emotional attachment to it, but back when I was being goth and under the influence of nihilist aesthetics, my friends and I read Baudelaire, Sartre and Dostoevsky. To us, a film like this would be as intellectually an emotionally fulfilling as the popcorn you might eat while watching it.
The "best movie ever"? Sorry. No.
Alex Proyas (as he also showed with Dark City) has a visual knack for creating a dark world, and the world of the Crow is Detroit, but it could be anywhere.......The villains are never too OTT and the poignant moments between Sarah and Eric are handled well.
The real stand out for me though, is Brandon Lee's performance, and it still fills me with sadness to know, that his breakout role, was his last.
RIP Brandon...The Crow is a fitting epitaph for you.
If you haven't watched it yet, go to the video shop NOW and rent it immediately!