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

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Index 164 reviews in total 

promising idea

Author: Vincentiu from Romania
18 October 2013

in high school, I was a kind of fan of Poe. after years, this detail makes to have many and large objections about film. sure, it is not a biographic movie and the recipes of Sherlock Holmes is its axis. in same measure, it is an useful invitation to discover life and work of a great American writer. but... too many clichés. in a smart organization but not always compelling. Brendan Gleeson , who seems be the lookalike of Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Cusack who does a correct, almost impeccable role but he is not Poe, the option for Alice Eve as Emily are few pieces who create only a promising project but not a really good film. the atmosphere, the tension, the biographic details and crumbs of literature are assets of film but it remains common, gray, bone of a sparkle industry. and bad thing is the to ignore the potential of basic story. but the second chance is always alive.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly entertaining.

Author: Bruce722 from United States
6 July 2013

I honestly don't understand why so many critics didn't like this film as I felt it was one of the better mystery crime thrillers in years. In a very creative and well made movie, Edgar Allan Poe's stories are brought to life and Poe himself must help solve the clues and catch the killer in order to save a woman's life. John Cusack does a remarkable job in the role of Poe and the rest of the supporting cast, featuring Luke Evans, Brendan Gleeson, and the beautiful Alice Eve, are strong as well. The plot develops nicely and the movie flows at a constant pace, never dragging or growing dull. It was far from perfect being plagued by the same "oh really" issues that plague so many other thrillers. What I mean by that is that many of the plot points hinge on various characters' unrealistically stupid decisions and/or reactions to things. Regardless, The Raven is still very much worth watching and I found it a grippingly entertaining movie.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Terrible. Trust me, I thought it through.

Author: lothian_p from United Kingdom
21 June 2013

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.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This movie was bad.

Author: condedeabranoz from Mexico
25 May 2013

*** 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, 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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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: stephenrtod from United States
18 February 2013

I taught Poe's poetry and short stories for over 40 years, and I think that "The Raven" strikes a useful compromise between Poe purists who expect the feature-length film to satisfy devotees of Poe - and those who either have never read Poe or have scarce knowledge of his works, his style or his life.

John Cusack continues to select very challenging roles and to command my attention with his voice, his body, his use of stillness, space and time. I have seen John Astin's one man Edgar Allan Poe live performance, and I am amazed at Cusack's ability to create a sympathetic character considering Poe's struggles at West Point, with his stepfather, with substance abuse, poverty, and great discouragement considering his immense talent. I'd be curious to see the reaction, in general, of European audiences to this movie, spectators who, for the most part appreciate Poe far more than most Americans.

Alice Eve could just smile or read the phone book, and she'd make an impression; but she plays a courageous young woman; and in so doing, Eve must, herself, have been a more courageous person than I in enacting one of the most harrowing scenes in a Poe story; I could not have done it for love or money. She did it so well, it not only seemed to be really happening, I had to make myself breathe deeply, slowly and deliberately so that I would not panic; and I was just watching a movie.

Wickedness is delightfully horrible as depicted in this film, a grim reminder that great intelligence is not always utilized for benign purposes; and that flesh-and-blood chess games can be as deadly as a razor-sharp pendulum.

I have been a movie fan all of my life, and I must say I thought this film was a far better artistic accomplishment than any of the professional reviews I have scanned were willling to admit. I suppose that many critics feel they are paid to find fault with all but one or two movies every year because their critical acumen is always being weighed against the most successful reviewers.

There is violence, blood and gore and considerable disturbing mayhem in this film; but it's not overdone; it doesn't glorify any of the gruesome details, but audiences need to know that this is going to be a fictional (as far as plot) story involving Edgar Allan Poe, but also one which will weave actual details from many of his most famous works into the fabric of this movie. The gruesome is presented honestly.

Several readings of Poe's poetry are done in exemplary fashion. The European set is fitting in an exciting and dangerous-looking way, dark, dank, and tensely-expectant. Seemingly, candle light rules the interior shots. Surprises are not telegraphed, which makes their impact sudden and jolting.

I especially enjoyed watching the film a second time listening to the commentary by those who produced the film. I learned then, how a multitude of artistic and cinematic choices were actually made.

I would recommend the movie strongly for those who are familiar with Edgar Allan Poe and who have read and like his literary works. It is primarily a dramatic work, however, not a scholarly treatise, and I noticed three or four inaccuracies pertinent to Poe's life and works. The movie is good enough to inspire me to go back and read "The Telltale Heart," "The Cask of the Amontillado," and "The Pit and the Pendulum" as well as "The Premature Burial."

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Rather good... Thanks to John Cusack, above all

Author: Bene Cumb from Estonia
2 February 2013

The plot has several good moments and logically explained events, but, in general, is rather uneven, with some protracted scenes not providing additional value to the movie. Luckily, there is more crimes and less mystery, no voices in the forest or inside heads or so (personally, I do not find it thrilling to follow someone's going or being mad). As for the cast, John Cusack + British actors give pleasant performances; well, males mostly, I did not like female characters too much. Anyhow, the movie does not become boring and the ending has several layers as well, although you could guess the fate of Edgar Allan Poe.

Additional points as I did not guess who the guilty one was.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Why Poe? Why him?

Author: poyrazbaklan from Tokyo, Japan
3 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Raven is a sub-par thriller movie, setting John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe which most of you know as the writer of some awesome horror stories like the Black cat and the Masque of the Red Death, and the famous poem, the Raven. Only the movie is not about him, or any of his works at all. Cusack is so so in his role, he doesn't actually look like how Poe is depicted and his character isn't well developed throughout the movie at all. We only know that he is Poe and he wrote the raven and a bunch of stories and that is it. The real deal is the killer who is murdering people on occasions inspired by Poe's stories. Why? Not explained. Even the killings aren't very well done, since Poe's stories never really focus on the kills but more on the human mind committing them. None of this here. The setting is actually good, with top hats and misty streets obscuring your vision and a Jack the ripper-esque killer on the loose gives you chills but there is no story underneath it all. Poe has to explain each time which story it was because the murders are tangential and not really the same as what his stories tell. And the fact that the real E.A. Poe is found dead on a street is woven into the story when the killer poisons him! See it all comes together! Right?? No!! They should have just made a generic movie and leave Poe out of this, like "In Hell" but noo it had to based on someone.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Spoke the Raven, Nevermore...

Author: JoeB131 from United States
11 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay, this wasn't "Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter" awful.

It's a period piece movie with a famous historical figure in it. This was actually sort of plausible. Someone is killing people using methods found in the works of Edgar Allen Poe, who is down on his luck at that point in his career. A clever young detective figures it out and enlists Poe to find the killer.

Meanwhile, the killer kidnaps Poe's fiancé, and this becomes the typical race against time plot.

The ending is predictable. I figured it out about ten minutes before the characters did.

Still, the movie looks great, there are great homages to Poe's stories (and I was familiar with more of them than I thought I was) and for the most part the story kind of works. The period costumes are pretty good as well.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Nice mystery type film featuring the tortured Edgar Allen Poe.

Author: Aaron1375
23 October 2012

I was not sure what to expect from this film, but seeing as how I could borrow it for free I would watch it. Turns out it was a really good movie as it featured a fine performance from John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe, a nice kill here and there and a nice mystery to try and unravel. I am surprised that it did not perform better at the theaters as it was a nice change of pace from all the comic book films I usually watch.

The story has Edgar returning to Baltimore at a time a gruesome murder is taking place. One that seems to be a copy of his work "Murders in the Rue Morgue". Other heinous crimes occur, all seeming to be based off Poe's work. Poe becomes the prime suspect, but the investigator on the case soon realizes it is not the troubled author so he soon enlists Poe's help to try and find the person responsible. Unfortunately for Poe, this killer soon brings Poe in directly by kidnapping Poe's beloved and challenges Poe to find her before she dies.

I liked the cat and mouse of the game as the investigator and Poe try to solve the killer's bizarre and twisted clues to learn his identity before it is too late. I was not sure what to expect from the film, but it turned out to be a very dark and a bit of a sad film. John Cusack did great as Poe, but all of the cast did a fine job. They also did a nice job of recreating Baltimore in the time period this film takes place. I am sure if I really looked I could find a mistake or two, but I never really try to look for anachronisms when watching a movie unless it is like totally obvious or the movie is not good.

So all in all a good mystery type movie with some horror elements in it. The best death was a bit early in the film, it being the one that copied the Poe story "The Pit and the Pendulum". None of the other deaths were quite as graphic as it. However, the film's story was good enough that I did not need to see a bunch of over the top brutality.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A solid mystery that lacks genuine intensity.

Author: Mr. Cool from United States
11 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film suffers from something too many mysteries do, it starts off great and slowly goes downhill.

What could have been a fantastic whodunit cat and mouse murder story gets lost in a romance with suspense. Yes unfortunately this movie is at its core a romance. Not that there's anything wrong with exploring that side of the character, and perhaps it was even necessary for the story, but the focus should have been... THE MURDERS. Only a handful are shown on screen, and honestly there just wasn't a high enough body count.

The writers did a great job of connecting all of Poe's works (or at least some of them) into a killing spree, but the spree was stretched out, and eventually lost. Not too long after the infamous pendulum scene the movie descends into a race against time to find Poe's love.

Thats where the film starts rolling downhill.

Instead of tying together more gruesome murders in an ever intensely growing cat and mouse game, its clue after clue, "I have to find her" lines, and the movie never regains the pace it started off with.

Now its not a bad movie by any means, its got a decent cast, a cool concept, it just needed to stick with that concept.

Also I'd like to point out that the lighting in this film is particularly bad. I watched it in HD on my xbox 360 and could barely make out most of the darker scenes, of which there are a lot.

With a higher body count, a faster pace, and some less campy acting, this could've'e been one hell of a murder mystery, but the director and the script lost its way and now found the trail again.

Good for one watch, especially if your a literary fan, but don't expect a masterpiece.


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