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Reviews & Ratings for
The Raven More at IMDbPro »

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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

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!

Author: g-penman
30 April 2012

This film does nothing that already has not been done much better in other films 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

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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12 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

James McTeigue's The Raven

Author: slayerjmk95 from United States
27 April 2012

The Raven is James McTeigue's new film starring John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe, the famous writer who seems to be experiencing a writer's block, as he has money problems and drinking habits. When a detective (Luke Evans) comes to Poe asking for his help in solving a series of murders involving Poe's stories, Poe begins to suspect that there's a bigger scheme behind the mask of the killer.

Masterfully directed by McTeigue, who previously did V for Vendetta (and the fluke, Ninja Assassin), The Raven is a stunning and entertaining set-piece of a period film, mixed with incredible visuals and intense sequences of suspense as Poe begins to get more involved. The way McTeigue captured some of the scenes was just spectacular, especially the part at the church. John Cusack was great as Poe; at first i was a little skeptical, but when i went to the midnight premiere and sat through the first 30 minutes, i knew that the producers made a right choice. Alice Eve was good as Poe's lover, Emily, but nothing too special; mainly eye-candy if you ask me. Luke Evans was just phenomenal as the Inspector, Emmett Fields; he truly is one of the breakout actors of the decade. The music was very moody, truly capturing the terror of the moment when a body is found or Edgar is on the chase. The script wasn't gold, but it was definitely good material for a film like this; it's not something you see every day, and the way they portrayed the time period was just astonishing.

All in all, this is an amazing thriller that surpasses the mistake that was Ninja Assassin but ranks just below the instant classic of V for Vendetta. James McTeigue really needs to stick to films like this.

9/10 Stars***

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15 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Poe would be Ashamed

Author: Richard Reilly ( 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."

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17 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Don't even illegally download it!

Author: TheSquiss
17 June 2012

I really like John Cusack. He's a fine actor who's made some superb films and is vastly underused and underrated. Top of the list of Cusack's successes is Grosse Pointe Blank, a fab, funny, box-office flop that has achieved the dubious accolade of 'cult status' via DVD success. Then there's, ah, um… Oh. Realization dawns. I really like John Cusack because of Grosse Pointe Blank! Oh, he was a hero for a while with Say Anything, became cool with Being John Malkovich and Pushing Tin and entertained with the likes of Con Air and Runaway Jury but actually, he's made fewer great films and displayed less versatility than, well, River Phoenix, with whom he made Stand By Me. The dead star of Stand By Me… And so we come to The Raven, a film that River Phoenix wouldn't be seen de… Nope. Let's stop there.

Cusack stars as Edgar Allan Poe, who joins forces with a detective to catch a serial killer who's using Poe's own stories as a framework for his killings. I'm not sure that it was directed by anyone but the name on the credits is James McTeigue, the director who had more success with V for Vendetta and not much else.

It's not as bad as Johnny Depp's similar and rare flop From Hell but it isn't good. No, it's bad. Very bad. It is as bad as From Hell. Don't go to see it and don't rent it. Don't even illegally download it.

What was going through their minds? Even the closing credits and theme song are awful and completely at odds with the 'feel', such as it is, of the film.

I could have had an early night instead.

Another film review from The Squiss. For more reviews from The Squiss subscribe to my blog at

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Really good in theory, no so much so in practice.

Author: carbuff
12 August 2015

Actually a pretty strong plot, but unfortunately a pretty mediocre execution.

John Cusack's abilities (and/or aspirations) peaked quite a while back and nowadays he seems to be mostly coasting (and eating). This movie could have made some strong emotional connections, and it comes close a few times, but it never seals the deal. Instead it attempts to compensate for its failings with some unnecessarily gruesome special effects, which didn't really add anything to the movie.

In this case, leaving some of the blood and gore off of the screen would probably have raised the suspense and tension, which would also have made for a better homage to the work of Edgar Allan Poe.

So while this film is interesting and original enough to be worth the time, unfortunately it didn't live up to its obvious potential.

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An Unfortunate Miss by the Academy

Author: galicea-19143 from U.S.
14 May 2015

As a lover of all truly great film almost devout in nature, I don't understand how this worthy film was passed over in 2012. A brilliant piece of which even Poe, a strict critic, would have been proud. Although "The Artist" was deserving of its wins for Best Director and Best Actor, John Cusack (Poe) and James McTeigue (director), along with the screenplay's writers, Ben Livingstone and Hannah Shakespeare, deserved to be nominated.

If you read about Poe, his definition of what good storytelling's about, along with how he critiqued writing, the story and its portrayal remained strikingly true to Poe's own methods. It is a must for all horror/drama/period movie lovers. The best part is you don't have to choose all three criteria. One will suffice.

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80 years after it's time

Author: stephen7272 from United Kingdom
10 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There has been a recent trend towards American Gothic horror. The Raven fitted this genre. It was a commercial failure but still has it's admirers. So let me examine why it was a financial flop.

There is plenty of gory action so the reason does not lie there. Both Poe and the murderer indulge in their passion. There is a close partnership between Poe and the police detective. 19th American society is vividly portrayed. The search for Emily and the kidnapper is intriguing and unpredictable. So that's 5 out of 5 good things about this movie.

But the movie is not contemporary. It requires an understanding of Poe's fiction and his literary quotes which is lost on much of today's non-literary audience. It is even harder to comprehend for foreign audiences.

This movie could have been as commercially successful as other American horror if it had been filmed in the 1930's. 2012 is just too late for it to capture the attention of a worldwide audience.

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