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The Raven
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Raven More at IMDbPro »

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17 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Dark and atmospheric police case... with Poe.

7/10
Author: siderite from Romania
14 August 2012

I really wanted to like this film, I really did. Something was off, though. Was it the script? Perhaps, although I can't find a clear fault in it. Some of the sophistication of the crimes and of the investigative methods were clearly out of the era, but overall it was OK. The production values were good, the direction was good, the acting was good. The atmosphere was dark and claustrophobic as in Poe's writing. Yet, I didn't quite find the enjoyment I was looking for.

The only thing I can think off was John Cusack. He and Alice Eve had no chemistry (and how can you not have it with Alice Eve?!) and the thing I had most trouble believing were not the way the criminal always barely escapes, not the story or the era or the feel of the movie, but that Cusack's character had any feelings at all. He seemed apathetic and occasionally angry. That was it. And that made the film, a good film overall, not be better than average.

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39 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

Awful

1/10
Author: marek-maurizio from Italy
14 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Poe is a whiny character nobody will like. The crimes have nothing to do with the original stories. They are uninteresting. Oh look! A big razor! A raven! That's enough to call it a day, now let's make a crappy movie and make millions. The script makes no sense. Big holes. One moment Poe is surrounded by policemen, the other he is alone chasing an assassin. Why him? Then he gets shot and, does he look for cover? No, he just sit down, in total open space, and nobody kills him. But moments later he gets shot at again. And then explain please, why Verne? The idea should be that the killer recreates the killing as in the books (let alone it's not happening due to the general poorness of the movie). Why was Verne his next target?? What was the plan? Building a submarine? It's not even scary. Poe was scary as hell. Why should one be scared of being buried alive? Even a maiden in his dancing dress can break free with her bare hands, like any other trash action American movie. Don't waste your time. Authors of the movie should be ashamed of themselves.

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14 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

a thrill-less thriller inspired by the original master of horror

4/10
Author: tbmforclasstsar from United States
28 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To be an author and to live your work must be a wonderfully surreal experience. If you're someone like, say, J.K. Rowling, to walk through a Hogwarts film set is a gift; it's the physical manifestation of your imagination, come to life before your very eyes. The same, however, may not be said if you're someone like Edgar Allan Poe.

And yet, live his work is precisely what Poe must do in the new drama The Raven. Directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta), The Raven tells the fictitious account of the mysterious last days of famed writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe. In the film, Poe (John Cusack) becomes the inspiration for a serial killer, one who draws upon even the minutest details of the writer's short stories to stage his killings. When a team headed by a Detective Fields (Luke Evans) begins to hunt the killer, Poe, the natural expert on the recurring murders, finds himself fighting for the woman he loves (Alice Eve) and challenged by a mastermind more disturbed than he.

To this day, no one really knows what caused Poe's death, or what, exactly, occurred in the last few days he was alive, and The Raven's attempt to answer those questions is, admittedly, quite creative. (I mean, what better way for the author of "The Tell-Tale Heart" to go than chasing a deranged murderer?) In fact, screenwriters Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare (ironically) attempt a tactic similar to that employed in 1998's romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love—both films try to concoct clever scenarios that might lend some insight as to what actually inspired some of the world's literary geniuses. However, while The Raven tries to paint a thrilling picture of said events, try is really all it manages to do. Unlike Shakespeare, The Raven never succeeds in executing its tale with much intelligence; neither does it do so with wit, elegance, or much subtlety.

It's unfortunate that this film is bogged down by such a thinly-crafted script and rather messy direction because I found, and actually still find, the entire concept to be quite fascinating; then again, I've been intrigued by Poe for as long as I can remember. And considering who, and what, the movie is about, I found it to be more silly than scary; I mean, I'm pretty sure I laughed during scenes (and lines, especially) I probably wasn't supposed to, and found Poe's human heart-eating pet raccoon Carl far more amusing than I probably should have.

To read the rest of the review (IMDb form too short) visit: http://custodianfilmcritic.com/theraven/

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Shallow and Disappointing; Edgar Allan Poe Deserves Better

5/10
Author: brando647 from Spring Hill, FL
20 January 2013

Well, here was a misfire. THE RAVEN is another one of those films where I should have listened to the critics. But, come on, the premise was cool and it's not often that John Cusack disappoints. Plus it was directed by James McTeigue, the man behind V FOR VENDETTA. How did this turn out so poorly? I remember having read reviews for it but I never actually seeing it arrive in theaters. I guess I know why now. I don't know a whole lot about the life of Edgar Allan Poe but I do enjoy his stories. This wasn't enough to find anything to love about the movie. This is throwaway entertainment at best, though entertainment might be too strong a word because I was pretty bored. The movie is a mystery/thriller based around the details leading to Poe's mysterious death in 1849. Poe is a penniless alcoholic scratching for booze money from his apathetic editor who wants nothing more than another macabre tale to capture his readers' attention (and money). Meanwhile, Poe is courting the daughter of a powerful man with a hatred for the alcoholic vagabond. When Baltimore is haunted by a serial killer who draws his inspiration from Poe's tales, the author is approached by Detective Fields to act as a consultant in hunting the murderer. Soon, the investigation turns personal for Poe when his beloved Emily is taken captive and they must work against the clock, following clues to find her before she becomes the killer's final victim.

THE RAVEN is an obvious attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Guy Ritchie's SHERLOCK HOLMES franchise. It fails. Whereas Ritchie's movies are fun, exciting (if loose) adaptations of the source material, McTeigue's movie is boring and formulaic. It just drones on from one scene to the next, connecting the dots to a conclusion that I just didn't care about. I realized the reason a lot of the tension fizzles is because the movie continues to cut away from the investigation to Emily and her captivity. Maybe if we weren't constantly reminded that Emily is alive, there would've have been a bit of suspense as Poe and Fields race to save her life. "Will they save her? Will she die before they can stop the murderer? Oh wait, there she is. Nope, she's fine." Then there's the matter of the final reveal of the culprit. I'm not going to reveal their identity here for those out there who are interested in the movie, but I was pretty disappointed. To be honest, I didn't even recognize the person at first. I had to think back and remember if I'd seen them in the movie before that point. There are no clues or pieces for the audience to try and solve the case in their own minds, it's just: here's a bunch of brutal murders and…here's the killer. Surprise! The murders themselves are mildly interesting, particularly the scene drawn from Poe's "Pit and the Pendulum". The violence loses some of its edge due to the shoddy CG that fills out the movie. Nothing looks genuine. In 2011, Roland Emmerich used CG to create expansive shots of Elizabethan era London for his film ANONYMOUS and it worked great, but McTeigue tries the same technique for 19th century Baltimore and it falls flat because it looks fake.

Speaking of fake, let's chat about the cast. I love Cusack but he was sorely miscast as Poe. From the very beginning, he never really disappeared into the character and always came off as John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe with a hint of Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes. As much as I enjoy Cusack, I'm not sure he's the right person for any sort of period piece. Throw him back in the hot tub time machine and let someone more appropriate tackle a role like Poe. Luke Evans is Poe's partner in the investigation, Detective Fields. Fields is a dull character with nothing defining about him with the exception that he's intelligent and all business. Good for him, but it doesn't make for the most exciting character. Alice Eve is beautiful as Emily and Brendan Gleeson is probably the best in the cast as Captain Hamilton, Emily's father and ardent Poe hater. Shallow characters in a shallow movie. That about sums up THE RAVEN. It's a forgettable experience that had a hard enough time capturing my attention while I was watching it. If you're looking for a thriller but don't really want to have to put any thought into the experience, THE RAVEN might be what you want.

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25 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

Nice Cinematography with a Boring Story and Unpleasant Characters

5/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
8 September 2012

In 1849, in Baltimore, Edgar Allen Poe (John Cusack) is a penniless writer with drinking problem that writes reviews in the Baltimore Patriot. Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve) and he are in love but her father Captain Charles Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson) despises him.

When a mother and her twelve year-old daughter are mysteriously murdered in a locked room, the efficient Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) finds a hidden spring in a window nailed shut that opens the window and he recalls an Allen Poe story. Then the writer Griswold (John Warnaby) that has criticized the stories of Poe is murdered in the same way of another gory story.

They find a scarlet mask in Griswold and Poe recalls another tale about another murder in a ball. Fields believes that the killer has inspired in Edgar Alen Poe's stories to commit his crimes and that Emily is in danger. Captain Hamilton does not call off the party and the criminal creates a diversion to kidnap Emily. Now Poe must participate in a game following the killer's instruction.

"The Raven" is a movie with a nice cinematography, but also with a boring story and unpleasant characters. The film is directed with heavy hand by James McTeigue that makes a movie without witty situations like, for example, in Sherlock Holmes films. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Corvo" ("The Raven")

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31 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

Ungodly boring

1/10
Author: bayan-rafeh92 from Lebanon
14 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm not sure where all the good reviews are coming from, this was an incredibly boring movie despite the gore.

Let's face it, if you've seen the recent sherlock holmes movies, this should be very familiar(they've even taken stock footage from those movies). The only difference is that the fact the detective character is a poet, and the killer is killing the same way as Poe's books and kidnapped his beloved, an extremely contrived way to get him to follow up on the case.

The real detective is useless, who serves no purpose other than to ask Holmes, sorry, Poe for help.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The raving and the riven

7/10
Author: tomsview from Sydney, Australia
5 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a clever, well-made movie, but I think there are a couple of things that stop it from being better than it is.

The story is not dissimilar to David Fincher's "Seven", in that case it was killings inspired by the seven deadly sins while in "The Raven", a serial killer creates gory scenarios based on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe.

Inspector Emmett Fields, played by Luke Evans, while investigating a bizarre double murder, realises that it has a connection to a story by Edgar Allen Poe. He engages the author to help him find the killer. Poe, played by John Cusack, is hesitant at first, but soon throws himself into the hunt, forming an alliance with Fields.

The killer's true intentions become a little clearer when Poe's Fiancée, Emily, played by Alice Eve, is kidnapped. Kept in a coffin, she is tormented by her captor. Eventually, Poe works out who the killer is, and strikes a deadly deal in exchange for Emily's life.

I think John Cusack struggles to find the right balance for Poe. Admittedly, he is more settled in the role by the end of the movie, but he knocks it off balance with some early drunk scenes with lots of yelling; actors portraying people who are drunk are almost as annoying as people who are drunk. His performance is uneven, especially in his affection for Emily – he seems oddly unconvincing in some scenes although he says he would sacrifice his life for her. Luke Evans, with a far more understated performance, steals the show as Inspector Fields.

Visually brilliant, the film features ever more elaborate techniques to dispose of the killer's victims, The ingenuity and the amount of work involved would have required a crew the size of the one that built the Panama Canal, however, with a movie such as this, suspension of disbelief definitely helps with the enjoyment level.

For a while, I thought the identity of murderer was going to be either a disappointment or far too obvious, simply because not too many characters are introduced into the story; an unwritten rule of crime movies is that no one is introduced into a plot without reason. My fears were groundless; the ending works brilliantly, and is far more satisfying than is often the case.

Although "The Raven" has similarities to "Seven", it doesn't have the darkness or the hide-behind-your-finger's tension of that masterpiece of horror. With that said however, as serial killer movies go, "The Raven" is definitely a 'cut' above the average.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Edgar Allen Noooooooooooooooo

2/10
Author: cmoyton from United Kingdom
26 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Oh dear. Much as a am a fan of John Cusak this is simply a terrible movie. Sure it looks and sounds good in high definition . As others have alluded to the director captures the whole Sleepy Hollow atmosphere 100%. The only redeeming feature was the Cusak portrayal of Poe. Down on his luck , his glory days behind him Poe is seen as a belligerent and egotistical drunk.

The amalgamation of truth and fiction simply does not work. Everything is thrown into the mixer from Hammer horror , to Sherlock Holmes to even Saw. Afet the 40 minute mark my mind began to wonder. Even with its serial killer (emblazoned on a newspaper headline - pointed in one scene towards the camera, in case you were not following) copycatting Poes more famous death scenes plot, the affair is strangely tension free. The identity of the killer results in a shrug of the shoulders - oh its him . Who would have guessed? I was never engaged enough to even try to guess the killers identity. If Poes death is shrouded in mystery this certainly doesn't pretend to be a viable explanation.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

John Cusack is not looking so good anymore

3/10
Author: ryanbursik from United States
16 May 2012

So I saw the preview for the raven a month or so back and was intrigued by the premise of the film. I loved from hell so I thought that I might be able to relive some of that with this film. If you don't know the premise of the movie already then go somewhere else. With that being said, I felt that it was just blah. No groundbreaking stuff here literally your average serial killer mystery with poe stories to spice up killings and a deflated twist at the end. Quite frankly I feel that John Cusack has lost his touch and he looked very out of place when walking around the cheap set of London in the film, His name or face just doesn't hold the power that it used too and it shows due to this movie, Why was he cast in this film? it made no sense to me. I love the man, don't get me wrong, but I couldn't help but think that depp or downey could have dominated this film, cusacks attempt at being the funny eccentric writer/ detective that drinks too much was not convincing and I felt that he was predictable and boring as Poe. Is the movie unwatchable ? no , its entertaining if you don't want to think hard what so ever and your idea of a good time is watching a actor on the wrong side of 40 flailing around London trying to re enact the glory days of his once promising career. Unfortunaetly this movie is a hard one to justify to go see because there is just too many other films out there that are much much better. I'll end my review with this, there was 1 other couple in the theater when I saw it.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Great atmospheric murder mystery.

Author: amesmonde from Novelist of The Final Version
30 July 2012

A killer is on the loose, a young detective joins forces with Edgar Allan Poe to stop his writings becoming reality. The stakes become high when Poe's partner is kidnapped and her life hangs in the balance.

Set in Baltimore, an underrated thriller mystery that needn't be compared to other period pieces including the likes of Sherlock Holmes (2009). This has its own legs and is more of a murder thriller than adventure. James McTeigue captures the ominous 1849 setting with dark and foggy cobbled streets reminiscent in tone of a Hammer films and Jack the Ripper tale - In Hell (2001). The setting and locations create a eerie backdrop, complimentary of Danny Ruhlmann's cinematography. There's no doubt, Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare's screenplay unfolds like a period piece CBS CSI special but it's a well filmed, entertaining and intriguing, strengthened by McTeigue's direction and Lucas Vidal's score.

Brendan Gleeson's acting abilities are very much underused as Captain Hamilton has he has very little screen time. Luke Evans' Detective Fields commands an on screen presence equal to that of the late Heath ledger. John Cusack gives his usual solid show, albeit he is more animated than usual as Edgar Allan Poe. Alice Eve is excellent, giving a convincing harrowing performance as the kidnapped and trapped Emily Hamilton.

Anyone familiar with the genre may see the killers identity well in advance. Nevertheless, The Raven is a creepy, solid old-school thriller with a fitting portrayal by Cusack.

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