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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 3 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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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A premature burial this isn't

4/10
Author: Bribaba from United Kingdom
15 August 2012

Nothing much to do with the original Poe poem, more of a composite of some of his works. It posits that a maniac is on the loose in 19th century Baltimore, and is acting out the writer's gruesome tales. Handily, Poe himself is also in the same city.

John Cusack does his best as the investigating Edgar but is no match for Vincent Price, a previous occupant of this role. The direction is flat and while the film looks superficially handsome, it doesn't compare to the Roger Corman/Richard Matheson collaborations on Poe's The Fall Of The House of Usher and Pit And The Pendulum. Furthermore, there is a distinct absence of tension, sharp dialogue and a decent supporting case. The budget for this rubbish is $26m, and all you get is a reminder of what's wrong with so much of modern cinema.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Rental

3/10
Author: Greg (gregmoroberts@yahoo.com) from Oakville, Ontario
27 July 2012

Truth be disclosed, we had high hopes for James McTeigue's The Raven. The story about a serial killer who is inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe suggested a Se7en meets Jack the Ripper tale and early trailers for the film had us optimistic about the result.

John Cusack plays Edgar Allan Poe and he is portrayed as a struggling writer for a Baltimore newspaper who between bouts of over excessive drinking is romantically engaging Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve) much to the chagrin of her father Captain Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson) who has little patience for Poe's cockery and antics.

But Edgar Allan Poe's romantic endeavors have to take a back carriage seat when a mysterious killer begins to use murders as described in such Poe classic writings as The Pit and the Pendulum as his inspiration to his rampage. Detective Fields (Luke Evans) is quick to make the connection between the gruesome discoveries and Poe's literary prose and he teams with the author in an attempt to get closer to identifying the killer.

Adding one wrinkle to the events is the kidnapping of Emily Hamilton. Emily is not quickly killed, but is instead buried alive and now Poe and Fields must work through various clues and the odd mistake by the film's villain.

As aforementioned, much was expected from the director of V for Vendetta and Ninja Assassin. But from almost the first frame of The Raven, things go awry and the dialogue and the subsequent acting expected from the dialogue fails to lift the film towards any hint of a recommendation.

First and foremost is the miscasting of the usually reliable John Cusack. Ewan McGregor was originally cast in the role (with Jeremy Renner as Detective Fields), but both dropped out of the project to pursue other projects. Cusack's accent comes and goes and his portrayal of the eccentric Poe has him more of an ass-clown buffoon whom audiences could care less suffers or survives.

The killings were unmemorable save for poor Rufus Wilmot Griswold who gets cut in half by a pendulum that looks like it was rigged by the Jigsaw killer from the Saw franchise while spewing CGI blood throughout the room.

The action and drama that takes place between each murder is boring and poorly written and it culminates in an ending that looks to have been test-audience approved and neither satisfies those that suffered through the 110-minute running time nor does it bring appropriate closure to the cat-and-mouse events that preceded it.

The end result was such that we thought the film would be better titled 'The Rental'.

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2 out of 3 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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3 out of 5 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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3 out of 5 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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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Worse than I expected

4/10
Author: (isisinhouston) from United States
3 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Anyone who wants to know about Edgar Allan Poe need only go to the expert writings of T. O. Mabbott. It would appear that neither John nor the authors are familiar with him which is very unfortunate, especially since John said he lost 25 pounds in preparation for the role. I was able to look past the Van Dyke beard since I had seen it in clips and tried to convince myself that this was somehow necessary to hid some perceived flaw in John's chin or mouth area or that somehow it would make his face look more drawn out and emaciated. Without any attention to his well tanned, robust looking skin, any attempt at emaciation is useless without good makeup, which in John's case was decidedly missing. Also missing was Poe's southern accent. Although it was slight, it was part of his writing and needed to be there to appreciate the rhymes and rhythms of his verse, especially in the scene where he is reading to the lady's group. Perhaps John should have watched the 1951 film, The Man With A Cloak to see how Joseph Cotten played the part of Poe. The fact that this was supposed to be the last week of an ailing mans life and seeing the character running all over Baltimore and riding around the countryside in gun fights is even more incredible. Poe also lived in the cottage at Fordham from 1846 until his death but the film would have you believe that he was rendered homeless when his rooms are burned in a fire. The love affair is complete fiction but I understand it was necessary to create the victim for the plot to work.

The film itself is not bad for what it is. John brings his usual character to the part and that is not something I dislike. I was just disappointed that so much more could have been done.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Explosive!

10/10
Author: Angelina-356-434900 from United States
28 April 2012

April 28, 2012 By Angelina de Mourier.

Today, I went to see "The Raven," a mystery thriller set in 1849, the actual time Edgar Allan Poe lived, my January 19th born master of macabre poetry, (though if one were to read his real-life quotes, one would be astonished as to witness such love; "We loved with a love that is more than love.") He died, rather mysteriously, at age 40.

What Director James McTeigue aspired to do was brilliantly accomplished, in this epic work of mystery which incorporates the actual life of Poe with fiction.

Phenomenal achievement, really, as to lace them, oh, so integrally. I salute him, as Poe would have done in his days at West Point, which were mentioned in the movie along with his two loves; first his young cousin of a wife who died of Tuberculosis, first signs truly evident at the piano, as mentioned, and the other love, of his sweetheart, Sarah Elmira Royster. The $9 he was paid for his first publication was incited, his disdain for Longfellow, as well as a myriad of his actual prose of known works from, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" all the way to "Annabel Lee"...which brought the killer into the labyrinth of the fiction element of this film. My heavens, they even included the last publicly known words of Poe, "Lord, help my poor soul."

John Cusack's performance was explosive! And his lines of the time I cherish so, were perfectly articulated with the passion they should be!

And not too many present-day special effects, except a close-up of a slow-moving bullet, which was actually a fabulous adornment.

C'est Magnifique is all I can say of this movie...of course I did close my eyes to the more bloody scenes, which flitted as fireflies on a summers night. So be it.

Oh yes, and I dearly loved these inscripted words to touch my heart, said by Cusack/Poe:

"If I would have known my work would have such an effect on people, I would have devoted more of my time to eroticism."

Well, my dear Edgar, how honored I am as to cover that for thee, in "My Secret Husband."

Most grateful to have had the opportunity to view this production. Truly, Angelina de Mourier

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8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

a waste of time and money

4/10
Author: dushyant chaturvedi from India
15 July 2012

terrible waste of a terrific idea. for the un-initiated, Edgar Allan Poe was the original king daddy of horror stories. here his stories inspire a "twisted" imagination and the inspired killer starts to massacre people taking cues from the stories. there are problems galore. first of all the acting and the casting. this was a role which was tailor made for someone like Robert Downey Jr or even Edward Norton. John Cussack was a poor choice and he shouts and overacts his way through the movie. the script starts of well but then meanders and the "clues" given to Poe are stupid, mundane or so complicated that the viewer has to e intimately familiar with Poe's work to really appreciate them. much was expected from the team which contributed to V for Vendetta. but the movie is a spectacular let down.

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8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Detective Poetry

8/10
Author: kdorsey321 from United States
29 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review is on the movie "The Raven," starring John Cusack, Luke Evans, and Alice Eve. When I saw the previews for this film I was automatically hook. I haven't read any of Edgar Allan Poe's novels, but I have heard a lot of great things about them. The previews made the movie look real catchy with a writer (Edgar Allan Poe) going after a murderer that is mimicking his novels. Looked like a descent film and I was excited to see it.

This film is about a writer (Edgar Allan Poe) who has an admirer. The problem with this admirer is that this admirer is willing to bring the deaths in Edgar Allan Poe's novels to life. In the mist of this the murder starts to play a game and challenges Edgar Allan Poe in a battle of wits. To make sure he plays the game, the murderer takes something very valuable to Poe.

I thought this was a very good film. "The Raven" picks up the mystery/thriller ball and doesn't get any scratches on it. I love the way John Cusack character was. I love his passion for his writing and how he felt nothing anyone else was going was better than what he was writing. I also like how just about everything Poe said was dipped in poetic form. The screen writing was simply brilliant in this movie. The ending wasn't typical either. I liked that about this movie. There's nothing like a movie you can't predict. This movie was gruesome though. If your stomach doesn't do well with gruesomeness, you might want to sit this one out. This isn't a difficult movie to follow, but you have to pay attention though. You may have to see the movie two or three times to fully understand how Poe and Fields (detective in movie) figure out the murderers scheme.

Overall, I felt like this was a pretty descent film and I'm giving this film an 8.5 out of 10. You have my blessing to see this film in the movie theaters. I will purchase this movie on DVD.

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