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

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great for Poe fans

8/10
Author: SilkeJ from London, England
3 May 2014

I've read Poe (and still do), so this was an interesting one for me. I'm glad I watched it, and I thought it was quite well done. The film has a good atmosphere and is beautifully shot. It has a good pace and doesn't give too much away. At first I was dubious about John Cusack as Poe, but he and Luke Evans played well off each other. There are some "Meh" moments that feel contrived, but there are also some that made me chuckle. (The insults in the bar.) The movie has a "Jack the Ripper / Sleepy Hollow" kind of feel to it. It definitely helps if you know some of Poe's more "mainstream" work, but it's not a necessity. I saw a lot of negative reviews for this movie, but I'm glad I ignored them. Well worth watching.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Elementary my dear Edgar.

6/10
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom
14 March 2014

The Raven is directed by James McTeigue and written by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare. It stars John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve and Brendan Gleeson. Music is by Lucas Vidal and cinematography by Danny Ruhlmann.

"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"

It's a real smart idea that the makers have here, putting their own theory forward on what happened in the lead up to Poe's death. Essentially a period whodunit procedural as Poe (Cusack) and Inspector Emmett Fields (Evans) race against time to find the person who is killing in the style of Poe's literary works. Poe's love interest, Emily Hamilton (Eve), is in grave danger, so as to add extra peril and suspense into the clock ticking drama.

It's a safe piece of entertainment, one that acquaints the uninitiated with Poe's work and his life struggles away from the writing bureau. The detective angle is fun and the murders grizzly and appropriately Gothic in execution. Unfortunately it rarely convinces as a period piece. The dialogue is often out of sync with the era, Eve is miscast, the score is inappropriate and it always feels like actors playing at period rompery.

It's a shame that it is bogged down by such irritants because Teague's direction is stylish, while the art design deserves a round of applause. Cusack is fun to watch, but more at ease playing Sherlock in the second half of the piece than a tortured soul in the first, and Evans is confident in the straight backed gentleman detective stakes. There's a good time to be had here on a surface whodunit follow the clues experience, and Poe fans will delight at catching the many references to his life and spiky works, but it unfortunately misses the mark in too many key areas. 6/10

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A film that could and should have been better

7/10
Author: romail100 (margbcon@yahoo.com) from Portugal
6 January 2014

Edgar Allan Poe was a famous American poet and novelist who (among other things) wrote dark and enigmatic detective fiction stories before Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle (the author of the Sherlock Holmes novels). In this film Poe is asked by the Baltimore police to help find a murderer who uses techniques to kill his victims taken from his own previously published novels and short stories.

The film starts reasonably well showing us Poe struggling to continue writing good novels and poetry and having to fight his own demons and alcohol addiction. Soon Poe and the police inspector of Baltimore trace the murderer's moves and the film becomes a bit formulaic, namely both men manage to decipher some of the killer's marks and riddles eventually closing in on him.

Overall, I think the movie was just good, but lacking in depth. Poe is portrayed by John Cusack who gives a rather youngish image for the tortured Poe but I thought he did well. Unfortunately he is not given too much to do really other than running after the criminal who abducted his fiancée. The references to Poe's actual work (parts of his stories and poetry) are welcome but do not help too much. The murderer's identity also does not mean anything and is clear that he does not understand Poe's literature and talent. A film on this subject should have been better.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Fell Short

6/10
Author: culmo80 from United States
17 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I always enjoy atmospheric, Gothic horror movies, so that's probably why The Raven is given a 6. Otherwise, I would have rated it lower.

In case you haven't read the synopsis, The Raven deals with Edgar Allen Poe in his last days when he is brought in by the police to find a murderer who's methods mirror Poe's own stories.

I liked the atmosphere and the settings. Baltimore, being such an old city, certainly has that certain creepy charm needed for a good horror story...which is always probably why Poe was drawn there. Anyway, aside from this, the movie fell short. The plot almost works but in most "mastermind murderer" films, the whole plot falls apart if the authorities aren't quick enough or are too quick. The long series of clues left by the killer all could have unfolded the entire movie. I know, we're supposed to suspend disbelief, but the more complex the conspiracy, the more likely it won't work.

Spoilers:

I thought the ending was also poorly done, and if they had worked it better, it might have made the whole movie better. I think rather than have Reynolds escape to France, Poe should have done him in after he consumed the poison.

Anyway, The Raven probably could have/should have been a better movie. Poe certainly deserves a better treatment, being one of the original masters of the horror genre.

I didn't find Cusack lacking in his portrayal of Poe. The dialogue was decent, and the action kept the pace well enough, though sometimes, it seemed there was action just for the sake of having some action.

I'd watch The Raven if you like Poe or the time period, or Gothic horror...but I wouldn't say this will be one of your favorites.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful, Brilliant, But Miscast

7/10
Author: gavin6942 from United States
16 February 2013

When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack), a young Baltimore detective (Luke Evans) joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality.

The idea of setting a murder mystery in Baltimore at the time of Poe, with Poe as a character and with his stories as the inspiration seems genius on the face of it. Indeed, he is a great character in a great time and his stories are a great inspiration for murder (as we have seen in the many film adaptations that were inspired by his work). It does seem a bit weird to put a real man in a fictional story, but if we can have "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter", I guess it is okay.

If you have an issue with it, I understand your sense of accuracy and need for historical continuity. It might have made more sense to put the story after the time of Poe (say, the 1850s) and had the killer be inspired, with a detective who knows the tales well. Or have Poe trying to solve another murder, perhaps one that even happened. You know, like Mary Cecilia Rogers, the "beautiful cigar girl".

Some people had an issue with John Cusack's Edgar Allen Poe. I feel their pain. Although I loved Cusack's delivery of the lines, I never felt like he looked the part. He looked too much like himself. Ideally, they should have cast Jeffrey Combs. Combs not only looked spot on as Poe in "Black Cat", he did a one-man stage show. Combs eats, sleeps and breathes Poe. And, as an added bonus, he probably costs less than Cusack.

Luke Evans was great and stole the show with his incessant intensity. Every line was dramatic, and it worked. Evans kept the film alive for me, as did the beautiful scenery and cinematography. Whatever was lost with Cusack was gained with the coloration and lighting. Great, great work. I could have used less CGI blood, though.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

decent movie

6/10
Author: ashdoc53 from India
17 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoiler alert !!

Its the mid nineteenth century and Edgar Allan Poe rules Baltimore city . Actually he rules the literary world there . Or so he thinks.....But when he barges in a bar there asking for a free drink because he's the literary king no one recognises him there . Instead he gets a punch and a kick out of the bar . But maybe thats because its just a bar filled with drunken louts.....

So how does the literary king eke out a living ?? He does that by writing grisly stories of even more grislier murders full of sharp weapons and bloody deaths .

......And to eke out a living he has to keep on churning out the stories week after week to be published in the newspapers which the greedy public reads to satisfy their bloodsoaked fantasies .

But his literary talents earn him one other thing---love of a beautiful woman......a woman who dares to go against her father who threatens to shoot Edgar dead if he continues the romance . That further enthuses the blonde blueeyed beautiful woman who proposes marriage---a marriage she feels will be in the perfect setting for Edgar ; after all nothing could be more perfect than the marriage of the writer of grisly murder stories occurring under the threat of death at the hands of her father......

But unfortunately there are other less delicate admirers of Edgar Allan Poe's work ; and one of them is a demented psychopath who decides to murder people in the exact way as written in Edgar's books---by cutting into two the bodies of his victims with the help of a saw for example...... ......And Edgar's work continues to give this psycho inspiration for different kinds of more grisly murders......all of which attracts the attention of the police who decide to enlist Edgar's help in solving the murders as they are based on his writings anyway......

But the demented psycho has a newer and bolder plan---to make the threat of death on Edgar's wedding even more real by kidnapping his wife and making him churn out grislier stories on pain of his wife's death by keeping her locked up......

So does the psycho's plan succeed ?? Or does Edgar succeed in finding out who he is ?? And to what lengths and sacrifices Edgar is willing to go to save his wife ?? Will he trade his own life for hers ?? Go and watch the movie for that......

I found it a decent watch......

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Unmitigated good thriller

7/10
Author: JohnRayPeterson from Montreal, Canada
12 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an unmitigated good thriller; I obviously don't agree with most critics on this one, but some user reviews I most definitely did. Considering the storyline, I expected the movie to be more about horror than mystery or suspense, like another Edgar A. Poe story related flick(did not like) I'd seen, The Pit and the Pendulum; it was not. This movie is all about mystery, suspense and thrills; the few short and slightly gruesome scenes are merely a necessity to the whole story. If you are somewhat knowledgeable about Edgar Allan Poe's career or works, and especially his death, you'll be blown away by the story that unfolds in this movie.

I would describe the film as a period thriller. The costume designs and sets are very believable. The performances by the four main actors, Cusak, Evans, Eve and Gleeson, do justice to a good script and the direction seems consistent with McTeague's previous quality work.

I have seen each of the previous movies directed by James McTeigue and can say that when he directs another, it will be one I'll consider watching at least because of his involvement, if not for some actor(s) I may also hold in regard for their body of work. With 'The Raven', it was a combination of both actors and director that made me consider watching it. After reading some of the more thorough and positive user reviews, my mind was made up to see it.

Sam Hazeldine, in the role of Ivan Reynolds, is revealed at the end as the mysterious psychopath, the murderer of Poe, and at no point before will you suspect him; he acquits himself as well as any fiendish villain character any actor has played before, terrific. Don't make up your mind about the film until you've seen the full ending.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Lack of Atmosphere and Tension Ruin Good Idea and Performances

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
14 May 2012

The Raven (2012)

** (out of 4)

Disappointing mixture of fact and fiction as Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) is asked by a detective (Luke Evans) to try and help find a serial killer who is using Poe's work as an influence. Poe's deadly game gets more personal when the woman he loves (Alice Eve) is kidnapped by the killer. Real life figures have often been thrown into fictional movies with the best example being Bob Clark's MURDER BY DECREE, which had Sherlock Holmes tracking down Jack the Ripper. The idea of a serial killer using the work of Poe to commit crimes is a great idea and it's even better when you throw the sad figure of Poe in as well but sadly THE RAVEN suffers from some questionable direction and a lack of any suspense. To say the film is a disappointment would be an understatement because with the cast and story idea we really should have gotten a much better product. Cusack's performance is a good one and I didn't mind the few instances where he goes over-the- top. I think these moments were done on purpose to show the madness that his character is going through so I had no problem with these moments. Evans is also very good in his role as the detective and I thought the two actors did a very good job at playing off one another. Eve is good in her role as the love interest even though the screenplay does very little to help her and the same is true for Brendan Gleeson as her jerk father. The film's biggest problem is the direction because James McTeigue never brings any of the murders or the characters to life very well. You're really just sitting there watching the action take place but it never grabs you and gets you involved like a great thriller should. There's certainly a lack of atmosphere and there's never a tense moment to be found in regards to the killings or the scenes where they're actually trying to locate the killer. What's worse are the actual killings including the infamous murder weapon from The Pit and the Pendulum. The incredibly bad CGI effects are so cheesy and corny that you can't help but roll your eyes and think back to when human hands had to be creative and make an effect.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Enraptured

9/10
Author: nishant from India
14 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There was a lot of negativity about the movie and being a fan of Poe's work, I kept away from it. When I did get around to it though,I must say, it turned out to be a very good decision. The depth in this movie is immense, provided you are ready to see it. A lot of subtlety to the movie and the undercurrent of tension which is seen throughout.

This isn't a movie in which the protagonist is shown to be a knight in shining armor but a very antisocial poet. The plot unfolds in a very structured way, with the killings shown to be very gruesome but meticulous. This is not centred around the killings though, but the mind of the killer, and that of the protagonist, making this a movie that has a fair share of gore, but is not horror.

Coming to the performances, I believe they were all well done, with the antagonised Poe, the meticulous and driven, yet unsuccessful detective, the angry rich father and the daughter with a penchant for risk. I could not picture anyone else in the shoes of the respective actors, which goes to their credit, despite the fact that the female lead could have been a bit more expressive.

Thank you for reading.

This one is definitely worth a watch! Don't dismiss it!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One of the best movies i have seen in a theater..

8/10
Author: Adonis Zachariou from Cyprus
10 August 2012

I read a lot of reviews before going to see this movie at my local cinema, so i entered the room with low expectations, like i was going to watch an average thriller.. But i was wrong. This movie made a huge impression to me, i saw what i wasn't expecting, a wonderful film. I was hanging from the edge of my seat almost the whole duration of the film. I recommend it to anyone who wants to see a good mystery-thriller. Best thriller i have seen for a long time.

p.s. People, don't rely on reviews you see on the internet, if you like the genre of the film you are considering to watch, don't hesitate to make the big step and watch it at the cinema, so you can give your own review to your self.

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