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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:

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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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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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:

Quoth the Raven Nevermore

Author: dtucker86 from Germany
27 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

John Cusack gives a great performance as Edgar Allen Poe in this film. He really fooled me with the depth of his acting. In the opening scene, I thought he was just going to ham it up and show Poe as a washed up, egotistical horse's rear end. I liked that scene in the bar where he asked the patrons to give the correct answer to the phrase "Quote the Raven" and then someone yelled "Piss off". However he gives enormous intensity and complexity in showing Poe as loving and brilliant as well when he tries to find his kidnapped girlfriend. You sense his desperation. SPOILER ALERT in the end Poe dies when the bad guy forces him to take a drink of poison. HOWEVER, modern day forensic persons have theorized that Poe's death was from rabies due to a bite of one of his pets, may have been the raccoon he had in this film. I also wanted to point out that there is a big GOOF in this film that the IMDb normally reports on their site. In this movie, Poe is called to serve as an adviser by the police after there is a string of brutal murders that seem to match the plots of his books. There is a shot of a news headline in the movie and it shows the words SERIAL KILLER ON THE LOOSE. This movie is set in 1849 and the term serial killer was not even talked about until a century later. To the technical advisor's of this film I say you did a poor job and get your act together.

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Never Say Nevermore

4/10
Author: jeddjong from Singapore
26 June 2012

In National Treasure, America's founding fathers were the guardians of a secret treasure stash. In the Men In Black films, Elvis, Steven Spielberg and Sylvester Stallone (who is coincidentally planning his own Poe biopic) are aliens. The Brothers Grimm fought mythical monsters. Here, Edgar Allan Poe is roped in by Baltimore's finest to solve a series of murders based on his stories. This may not seem as impressive, but taking into account the legendary author's dark imagination and famously macabre stories, the crimes are pretty gruesome. This is the guy credited with the creation of the modern horror and detective stories, after all.

There is tremendous potential in the idea of Poe pitted against a killer who takes direct inspiration from his tales. Unfortunately, most of it is squandered in favour of unsophisticated slasher movie fare. "People love blood and murder", Reynolds (Kevin R McNally) the newspaper editor tells Poe. And in that respect, the movie delivers – the most gruesome murder happens relatively early on in the movie, where the victim is cut in half by a lowering bladed pendulum, something out of a Saw film – though Poe did it first in The Pit and the Pendulum. Problem is, more people are likely to have a Saw film than read Poe's story.

John Cusack's Poe is quite a disappointment. He's portrayed as the typical eccentric artist, and there's no mystique or danger, especially given the enigma the real Poe was. Cusack also doesn't fit into the period surroundings at all; one would half expect him to lift a ghetto blaster over his head. At its worst, it brings to mind Nicolas Cage – not a good thing.

Inspector Fields, as played by Luke Evans, is earnest, hardworking, dedicated – and absolutely one-note and boring. The interesting dynamic that might have existed between the author and the policeman is all but absent. The inclusion of Alice Eve as Emily Hamilton, a love interest for Poe, is done rather lazily, considering that he had a wife but was famously asexual and apparently only loved her platonically. But that would have been too difficult to portray and would have gotten in the way of the pulpy thrills now, wouldn't it? And so, she's quickly put in jeopardy as a motivator for Poe, and to force Poe and her disapproving father (Brendan Gleeson) to work together.

When the identity of the killer is revealed, it is more likely to induce an indifferent "meh" as opposed to the desired "gasp!" And that's the cardinal sin when it comes to whodunits. Director James McTeigue also delights in heavy-handed faux-symbolism – just because the title of the movie is "The Raven" doesn't mean one or more of the birds have to flutter into frame in every other scene. However, the art direction and the re-creation of 19th Century Baltimore are generally pretty good. So, this is pretty much average Poe.

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11 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Avoid this waste of time film!

2/10
Author: g-penman
30 April 2012

This film does nothing that already has not been done much better in other films ...it is a HUGE WASTE OF TIME! First of all,the casting of John Cusack in the role of Edgar Allen Poe,is completely ridiculous! This actor seems do be doing the same type of carefree,brilliant genius role that Robert Downey Jr. did so well in The Sherlock Holmes films,but with none of the comic flair.The actor from "Winter Bone", John Hawkes would have been perfect to be Poe,but Cusack is not dark enough as an actor to play this role. Also,in Sherlock Holmes, there was much chemistry between the actors,especially between Downey and Jude Law,this film does not have a grain of chemistry between the actors!The actress Alice Eve,is absolutely dreadful as Poe's love interest,if I never see her again in a film,it would be too soon! The plot is utterly unoriginal,you have seen this same type of material done better countless times before, any episode of The Showtime series "Dexter"has 100 times the originality of this entire film! This film reminded me much of the 2010 film "The Wolf Man",in that this material has been done infinitely better in countless other films, so it is simply a waste of time,and manages to be 100% unoriginal in every way!

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11 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Great movie

9/10
Author: mmcca286
28 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First thing I have to give credit to John Cusack for is award winning performance, and to the supporting cast as well. The movie was great and a great thriller. Not many movie leave me guessing throughout the movie and this one left me guessing all the way to the dramatic conclusion of the movie. There is many different stories about Poe's last few days of life and this one was one of them. If you know the history of Poe then this movie is just amazing and even if you don't really know Poe then movie is still great. My mom watch the movie and she only knew a little about Poe and she like The Raven. I got to give credit to the producer and directors for a flawless movie and to the writers for a wonderful script. I think the best movie of the year.

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15 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Poe would be Ashamed

2/10
Author: Richard Reilly (FFman@comcast.net) from Colorado
30 April 2012

Poe would castrate all the men involved in the making of this movie. I may not know much about Edger Allen Poe, but I know that much. The start of the movie's problem is that John Cusack was casted to play a man who is eloquent and drunk throughout. Cusack cannot pull off either. Every time he manages to piece together another "eloquent" sentence, it's difficult not to laugh at the face Cusack makes. It's almost like he is confused at the meaning while simultaneously pleased that he was successful in delivering the line. It kind of reminds me of George W. Bush.

The Raven is written by two people who have never written a big-screen flick and directed by someone who has never directed by himself before. The only way this movie ever got funded is because some studio realized that plenty of people would go see a movie about Poe. Unfortunately, the script was so horrible that only the actors who care about money would take it. I assume Cusack got the part because Nicolas Cage was busy.

The Raven is built on one of the worst scripts I have ever heard. The story tries to build up a suspenseful mystery. It doesn't work. You will spend most your time trying to figure out all the plot holes. Eventually you will give up and try to enjoy the acting instead. That won't work. If it's not the bad acting, it is the words they are saying. I cringed no fewer than ten times at the absurd dialogue that the screenwriters try to shove down their actor's throats.

Luke Evans plays Detective Fields in The Raven. At first, I was confused by his role. Was he simply drunk or depressed in his first scene. As the movie carries on, you will find that there is nothing wrong with his character. The problem is in his acting. He is supposed to be dark in a mysterious way. Instead, he comes across as a pouting 15-year-old girl who goes on a city-wide search for her lost lipstick. Luke Evans deserves a Razzie for this atrocious acting job. Please stop giving him roles.

There is no reason to see this movie. If you like Edger Allen Poe, stay far away from this movie. It destroys everything that is Poe by trying to explain the mystery that surrounds his final days. If you don't like Poe and simply want to see a good mystery, go see The Woman in Black instead. This movie is a likely contender for "The Worst Movies of 2012."

reillyreviews.wordpress.com

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Could be darker and needs more energy

6/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
6 June 2014

Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) is found near death on a park bench in Baltimore on October 7, 1849. Then it flashes back days earlier. There is a serial killer on the loose and detective Fields (Luke Evans) is investigating. Poe is self-obsessed, possibly washed up, may be drinking too much, and is marrying lovely Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve). Fields discovers the similarities between the murders and Poe's writing. Poe becomes a possible suspect or at least the inspiration for the crimes. Emily's father Capt Charles Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson) is in charge. Then Emily is taken and they get a note challenging Poe.

It is dark, moody and grotesque. I wish this could be even darker. John Cusack is going darker than usual but he still has his boyish light charms. It needs more tension and more excitement. I like where this movie is going but I just wish it pushes even harder. Poe may be shocking once upon a time. The blood and guts isn't gruesome anymore. It's very slow at times and Poe doesn't have the energy. This could use a lot more energy.

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Murder, mystery and John Cusack as the man in black

7/10
Author: dworldeater from United States
9 December 2013

John Cusack goes goth in this heavily stylized suspense thriller. Set in mid 1800's Baltimore, Cusack is legendary horror author Edgar Allan Poe. EAP works with police to catch a serial killer that imitates Poe's literary work and the killer took his woman too. The Raven plays much more like a dark comic book than anything that could happen for real. The Raven is very well shot, very Gothic and very stylized. The sets they built look good and balanced practical and digital f/x well. Performances are pretty solid for the most part. Cusack carried this film as the lead and did a good job I think. The murder scenes are grisly at times, but most of the focus is on story and style. As far as the thriller genre goes, there are a lot of better films. Overall, I dig The Raven. While not a classic in the genre, this is still a good film and you can definitely do worst in my opinion.

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