This movie is set in the mid 1800s and involves poet Edgar Allan Poe. A serial killer is on the loose and murdering people using Poe's descriptions from his published stories and poems. Poe teams up with Detective Fields, a Baltimore policeman to try and catch the killer by using his knowledge of the descriptions. Even though the stories are fictional, they start to become reality and the killer is a step ahead of them. Then it takes on a personal note as Poe's lover becomes a target. Will they stop the killer in time? Written by
Michael Hallows Eve
The dance that begins the ballroom scene is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Waltz", from his "Children's Album", (Opus 39 no. 8). It is incorrectly identified as "No. 9" in the film's credits; and, (dating from 1878), it hadn't been written at the time of Poe's death. See more »
On October 3, 1849 Edgar Allan Poe was found wandering the streets of Baltimore, delirious, calling out the name Reynolds. There have been lots of theories as to what Poe died of, from tuberculosis, rabies or to a drunken bender. "The Raven" puts forth a more romantic theory and a detective story for the man who invented the modern detective novel.
"The Raven" as a movie demonstrates that you can make a movie that bridges the biographical facts of Poe's life and its own artistic vision and still make an interesting movie. The movie is driven by the premise, a serial killer starts a series of killings in Baltimore that emulate some of the more gruesome murders in Poe's stories. When the first murder is done inside a locked room, police detective Fields (Luke Evans) recognizes it as the setting of an Edgar Allan Poe story. Fields brings in Poe (John Cusack) at first as suspect, but when another murder occurs Poe quickly becomes the first criminal profiler and consultant. Poe helps Fields both in what kind of mind the killer may have and of course in the details from his stories. The killer kidnaps Poe's girlfriend Emily (Alice Eve) with the killer promising clues as to Emily's whereabouts with each new murder he commits.
The filmmakers, director James McTeigue and writers Ben Livingstone and Hannah Shakespeare don't try to recast Poe's character as a superhero or give the movie Poe attributes that the real Poe didn't or couldn't possess. As mentioned before, the filmmakers stick fairly accurately to the known elements of Poe's last few days, although there are some artistic liberties taken, and they still present an entertaining movie with a few twists and turns as to who the murderer is.
Cusack is spot on as Poe from his look, thin with a black mustache and goatee, to (more importantly) Poe's character. Poe was a writer who had the ultimate confidence in his own abilities as a writer and was dismissive of his contemporaries, especially if they were more successful. Cusack is supported by a cast that hits every note right.
If you think a movie about Edgar Allan Poe won't have enough action for you, this is a movie for you. If you're more literary minded and think this movie will have too many inaccuracies or violate Poe's character or will throw in too much action, you won't be disappointed.
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