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Mid 19th Century Baltimore was the resting place of the famed poet
Edgar Allen Poe. Best known for his dime a dozen horror stories of
unrivalled depth, darkness and literary brilliance, Poe was an
astounding poet with his masterpiece "The Raven" still revered. Thrown
back in time we venture with the renowned American writer into the
final days of his life, full of mystery and unresolved secrets.
Unfortunately these are used to whip up an absurd slasher scenario
focused on a pretentious copycat killer, who imitates murders
perpetrated in Poe's books and in true Zodiac fashion attempts to lead
the police along. Poe is called in as an expert to unravel the mystery,
as he best has in depth knowledge of his own writings.
Manically reminiscent of the underrated, albeit flawed, "From Hell" (partly due to similar themes and time periods, but also due to the contrasting of worlds of haves and havenots) James McTeique takes the dubious script and attempts to eke out the best from his actors and the material. Historical accuracy thrown out the window with this purposeful dilution of the past through movie gimmickry "The Raven" is an entertaining, if unremarkable affair. Eerie, albeit often overly gory, scenes depict the mysterious sensual terror of Poe's stories and several moments seem to be a perfect picture of various descriptions richly portrayed by the master. Nonetheless any credibility is beheaded by the guillotine of standardised plotting, a derivative villain and automated solutions. Despite these misgivings John Cusack comes out admirably with his slightly troubled, shuttering Poe. Nonetheless after reading several of Poe's books it would seem that he is deserving of a much more unconventional nightmarish homage of Lynch-type madness, instead of this simplistic whodunnit carnage thriller without real heart.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A serial killer is on the loose and murdering people using Edgar Allen
Poe's descriptions from his published poems.
So 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 poems 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?.....
I wanted to see this film because V for Vendetta is one of my favourite movies, and I thought it was a good idea to do this movie using Poe, rather than have it set today and have as some sub par 'se7en' type movie.
In the end though, it does turn out to be some sub par 'se7en' movie, with a little bit of Saw thrown in the satisfy any gore hounds out there.
Cusack is fantastic though, and although the idea is great, it's just the theatrics of the killings that really make the film that little too silly for its own good.
I was looking forward to some clever murder mystery, but I got a Victorian torture porn movie, that had a good performance from Cusack and Gleeson, but little else.
Worth watching for the sets and the costumes, but don't expect anything original here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Raven is set in Baltimore during 1849 where short horror story
novelist & poet Edgar Allen Poe (John Cusack) is a broke alcoholic who
barely manages to survive writing reviews for the local paper. Poe is
in love with Emily (Alice Eve) who is the daughter of rich & powerful
businessman Charles Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson) who despises Poe &
threatens to shoot him if he goes near Emily again, however Emily is
deeply in love with Poe & the two are determined to be together & marry
each other. Meanwhile several gruesome & unusual killings are being
investigated by Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) who soon realises
that each of the murders have been copied from one of Poe's stories,
Poe is brought in as a suspect but is quickly cleared of suspicion. Poe
& Emily plan to announce their marriage at her father's fancy dress
ball but Emily is kidnapped by the killer who continues to kill & to
taunt both the police & Poe as he uses the life of Emily to make his
This American, Hungarian & Spanish co-production was directed by James McTeigue & is a fictional account of the final few days of the life of famed short horror story writer Edgar Allen Poe, I say fictional because apart from Poe himself, a few of his stories which are name-checked & the odd minor character nothing much in The Raven could be described as historically accurate or anywhere near approaching fact, for instance there is no historic record of an Emily that Poe planned to marry. The title The Raven has little to do with the film apart from the odd Raven appearing on-screen every so often but is the actual name of a poem Poe wrote in 1845, The Raven is a cool title title but means little. As a historical account of Poe's life The Raven offers little, there are no insights to his inspirations, his struggles or his life beyond he is presented as a man named Edgar Allen Poe who lived in Baltimore. As a work of dramatic fiction The Raven also disappoints somewhat, the big twist at the end when the kidnapper & killer is revealed is rather unsatisfying as this character we no nothing about is revealed to be the killer & quite frankly it could have been anyone as his motivations, his connection to Poe & the means with which he was able to pull off a series of such elaborate crimes remain almost a total mystery. The word flimsy springs to mind. At 110 minutes long The Raven does drag a little in places & after a couple of nice murders director McTeigue then focuses on Emily's kidnapping rather than more gory set-pieces. The film is decent enough, I liked it for what it is but I felt it could have been a lot more, neither satisfying those Poe fans who want an accurate portrayal of him on screen not those merely wanting a straight ahead gory serial killer mystery thriller it lies somewhere between the two. The Raven is neither terrible nor great, it's just sort of watchable & acceptable but never rises above that.
Despite Poe being best remembered as a writer of horror stories The Raven is more of a thriller with a great deal of the time spent on the kidnapped Emily & the desperate search for her, the end when the killer is revealed & Poe confronts them feels rushed & makes little impression. There just aren't enough viable suspects in this whodunit murder mystery thriller & how on Earth did the killer manage to construct a full swinging axe on his own? Where did they get the money? Why was no-one suspicious? Where did they find the time while also working a full-time job? I just wished that Poe & the killer had more connecting them & that the killer had more of a twisted motive. Even though the film looks very nice with lots of dark cobbled streets, some dingy period settings & lavish attention to detail there's no attempt to stick to realism as the term Serial Killer wasn't even invented or used until the 1970's for instance.
With a supposed budget of about $26,000,000 the film has nice production values for sure, this was mainly filmed in Serbia although set entirely in Baltimore. The acting is pretty good, Cusack is fine & the supporting cast are good too. Apparently both Ewan McGregor & Joaquin Phoenix were offered the role of Poe but turned it down.
The Raven is an OK murder mystery thriller that could have been a lot better, the idea of placing the real life horror author Poe in a situation where he has to investigate murders based on his books is neat but the concept never quite comes together here, it lacks a certain something & has no basis in historic fact at all which may annoy devoted Poe fans.
This is a hard one to review because I have mixed emotions about it.
First of all, I do like Poe's poems and the movie is full of it but on
the other hand I just didn't find it a horror. On that part it failed
completely. It reminded me so much of Sherlock Holmes (2009). Okay, it
do has a serial killer who likes sentences of Poe's poems but where are
the killings. The only one that was worth watching is the "Pit and The
Pendulum" murder. But if you look then you see that it was a mix of CGI
and effects and from that point I was a bit disappointed. One slashing
did look great but it was all too late. Still, it's worth watching for
the customs and all that. But when they involved Poe in the search of
the killer and the search of his fiancée it even became weirder for me.
It has nothing to do with the 1963 version of The Raven also loosely based on Poe's story. There is a raven to see here in this flick doing stuff in a coffin. But it was, personally spoken, more a thriller then a horror although it was published as a horror. Or to give it a specific title, a murder mystery a la Agatha Christie.
Gore 1/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 3/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nobody really knows what events led up to Edgar Allen Poe's death, and
that is what the 2012 movie, The Raven, is trying to figure out. Well
maybe not trying to figure out as much as tell us. Although what they
give us is a tad ridiculous, it's also a fun premise and a movie that
never takes itself too seriously.
John Cusack plays Poe, and he needs money and inspiration. But he's called into action when a serial killer is murdering people according to Poe's stories. At first Poe could care less. But once they nab his woman Emily(Alice Eve), he has no other choice but to help solve the mystery.
The film has a fun Sherlock Holmes kind of feeling, and even if you have a hard time accepting that Poe was trying to solve a murder mystery in his final days, you can't help but become engrossed in the occasionally grotesque but fun ride. I don't mind a good mystery, and there is no better mystery than a fiction.
Cusack is up there with my favorite actors, and he does a decent job of portraying this strange man. I liked the movie. Sure it's a little ridiculous but at least it knows it on the inside. It is another interesting theory of what happened to him, and trust me, I never would've guessed it.
The Raven is a 2012 movie directed by James McTeigue (known for V for
Vendetta) and written by Ben Livingston & Hannah Shakespeare. The film
features John Cusack and Alice Eve as the lead.The movie is based on
the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
Poe is famous for his writings on Mystery and Macabre. He is also said to be founding contributor for detective and science fiction genres. He is also known for his works on Gothic and dark romanticism. The title "The Raven" is based on his poem of the same name which was published in 1845 to a great success. Poe's last days are still a mystery. On October 3, 1849 Edgar Allan Poe was found wandering in the streets of Baltimore, delirious, calling out the name Reynolds. This movie is another attempt to explain the mystery of his last days.
And so, this movie represents another theory as to what might have happened to Poe in his last days. If you don't like theory based movies far from the truth, don't watch it. If you think this is some horror movie that will scare you, you are wrong. Indeed this movie has horror but because it is gore. It isn't at all scary. The story is detective fiction which ironically was founded by Poe. John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe was okay. To be frank, I am not much judge of a acting or direction unless they are extremely low standard. And, I, didn't find them low standard. The story will mostly hook the literature lovers, someone who is fan of Poe or had read his work. The plot was based on his actual stories which made it all the more interesting. To the persons with interests in myths surrounding the artists of Renaissance era, like me, this movie was reasonably engaging. True! It wasn't some masterpiece but engaging surely and depending on your tastes, totally worth the money spend.
The macabre and lurid tales of Edgar Allan Poe are vividly brought to life - and death - in this stylish, Gothic thriller starring John Cusack as the infamous author. When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Poe's darkest works, a young Baltimore detective (Luke Evans) joins forces with Poe in a quest to get inside the killer's mind in order to stop him from making every one of Poe's brutal stories a blood chilling reality. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, which escalates when Poe's love (Alice Eve) becomes the next target. Intrepid Pictures' The Raven also stars Brendan Gleeson and Oliver Jackson-Cohen http://geekdriven.net46.net/wordpress/
Fiction eats fact, Mr. Edgar Allen Poe, the ending days and his final
creativity. Poe (played by John Cusack) is a ruined drunk, although
poorly illustrated; he works for The Baltimore Times reviewing other
writers' work. He loves Emily (Alice Eve) but her dad Colonel Hamilton
(Brendan Gleeson) dislikes Poe's person and work, they have a secret
relationship behind the Colonels back.
Two brutal murders, in a bizarre staged crime scene of a mother and her daughter, initiate the Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) to investigate the Poe story Murders in the Rue Morgue, and bring Mr. Poe in for questioning. The connection between Mr. Poe and the murders are too obvious and must be related.
When a second murder (also based on one of Mr. Poe's stories) Now the cases really involves Mr. Poe as a key element for the investigation. The victim, who also writes for The Baltimore Times, wrote very negative criticisms of Poe's stories.
A message found on the victim is boldly from the killer and directed towards Mr. Poe and whereabouts his next strike. The killer threatens his beloved Emily and the game is on.
Fiction eats the facts and the movie mixes pleasurable enigmatic thriller elements and really becomes interesting, forward going and simple step by step story, yet intriguing and the filming is very interesting, the sets beautiful and even the lightning is greatly thought through, well used and well played. Even though we are far from the real Mr. Poe it's still interesting This movie is not a dark bloodshed thriller but rather a mixture of well... An enjoyable puzzling suspenseful story.
This film beings with "On October 7, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe was found,
near death, on a park bench in Baltimore, Maryland. The last days of
his life remain a mystery." I loved it, in fact I was so intrigued I
googled it. Well the last sentence was right.
That rather set the tone of the film from then on for me. Not only was Poe found on the 3rd of October but everything people know about his character was mainly formed by a man named Rufus Wilmot Griswold. Griswold and Poe were enemies for years however Griswold somehow held Poe's literary rights and wrote the biography on Poe which seems to have inspired the characterisation of Poe in this film. Griswold depicted Poe in the way he wanted to, whatever Poe was actually like we will never know thanks to Griswolds slander. That said I have always loved John Cusack, his performances (no matter the general standard of the film) are always great. He worked extremely well with the hand he was dealt and had someone else been Poe I would not have watched past that opening text.
Other than Cusack the film is aesthetically very nice to look at and the actors are trying their best with with a ham-fisted script full of clichés and bad lines. Along with the inaccuracy surrounding the dates of Poe's death which I can forgive (everyone should be allowed artistic licence) the second victim is Ludwig Griswold (which is the pen-name of Rufus Wilmot Griswold). I understand that stories will bend the truth and take artistic licence but isn't killing the man that wrote Poe's obituary and subsequent biography taking that licence too far?
Ignoring my annoyance at those details (and possible nit-picking behaviour in noticing them). I found the story to have little substance. I loved the idea of it and read the positive reviews but it makes too many silly mistakes (using a magnet to retrieve a lead bullet? Really?) and the script doesn't hold up to scrutiny. It was boring. My advice if you want to waste an afternoon watching something pretty go for it, however if you have more than two brain cells and access to Google, find something else.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's as if somebody tried to mix Sherlock Holmes with the life of a very famous writer (which makes sense, because one of Poe's stories inspired the character, but that's off subject, and I think whoever created this movie is too ignorant to even know that). They made this idiotic, vain, pompous, arrogant and attempted "player" out of Edgar Allan Poe to a point that I find offensive. Yes, he was a drunk, and yes, he never enjoyed success in his life, but I seriously doubt he would walk into bars flaunting himself and saying "I'm Edgar Allan Poe, will you fools just stand in awe at my eloquence, How can you not realize the God that I am?". Anyone who knows the life of this man, or at least read his works with some seriousness could tell you that he was probably a very quiet guy, with a drinking problem, who often locked himself in his place in the middle of the night, sticking to his reading and writing. The mediocrity of the script was enhanced due to the way Edgar Allan Poe was handled and mangled to fit into a dumb Hollywood film and his character changed entirely. Another thing: Clearly the identity of the killer was a last-minute random decision made by whoever wrote this piece of ...movie, we had never even heard of the guy until the end. And his motive? He had a thing for killing famous writers which led him (I'm laughing my ass off in sarcasm as I say this) to want to kill Jules Verne as well. I believe he even said to Poe "You remind me of him". Seriously? How can Edgar Allan Poe even remotely remind anyone of Jules Verne? If you don't admire or don't care about Edgar Allan Poe, this movie will still be bad, only you won't be deeply offended by it, hell, you might even enjoy it. Sometimes I like watching bad films if I'm bored enough. Peace!
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